Jan 23, 2005
My partner is HIV positive and I was recently exposed to potential infection. His viral load is undetectable and I have been assured that the risk of my infection is very low, but I was still put on a cycle of antiviral drugs as a precaution. Ten days into taking the meds I began to develop what looks like psoriasis. My doctors insist that this is not a symptom of any developing HIV. I assume that it is a possible response to the meds as psoriasis is triggered by T-cell production. I only assume this from my own investigations. Is this a common problem? Do you have an opinion? I've been off the drugs for twelve days and it still hasn't cleared up. what should I do?
Response from Dr. Conway
Cutaneous side effects of medications are quite common and may last as long as 2 weeks after you have stopped them. I am not sure if your skin problem is psoriasis, but if it is, you are right that immune stress, intercurrent infections and even some medications and their side effects may enhance the likelihood of its occurence. Isolated skin rashes are quite rarely the only sign of acute HIV infection, and the fact that your partner's viral load is undetectabel reduces the likelihood of transmission. Nonetheless, I agree with the decision to put you on antivirals and would make sure you get tested for HIV over the next 6-12 weeks to make sure transmission did not occur.
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