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Dangers of Sun Exposure
Dec 10, 2006

Are there particular dangers from sun exposure for HIV+ people? I am not on any antiretrovial meds or antibiotics, but I was wondering if sun exposure would affect immune function.

Frankly, I'm extremely fair and wouldn't mind being able to tan a bit to make me look a bit less pallid, but I don't want to risk even moderate sun exposure if it's going to affect, say, my viral load or CD4 count.

Any advice on this topic?

Response from Dr. Henry

UV exposure can lead to skin cancer which can occur (perhaps to a greater degree) in HIV + persons. I recall one tragic weekend when not one but 2 of my long term survivors of AIDS died of complications of skin cancer. Most HIV drugs do not interfere with the ability to experience sun exposure though some antibiotics (like sulfa drugs and tetracyclines) increase sensitivity to UV light in a significant fraction of patients. I have not observed that sun exposure has any clinically significant effect on HIV status (such as blood test results) .KH

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