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Is Chronic Telogen effluvium HIV related?
Apr 26, 2011

I've been diagnosed with HIV since 1992. I've been on numerous treatments although I'm currently on Norvir, Truvada and Prezista. For the past 5-6 years I have been going through a chronic hair loss, Telogen effluvium. It comes and goes every 6 months or so. But its getting to be quite concerning as a female. I used to have gorgeous long hair. I dont know what to do. I thought it was hormonal, as I had a hysterectomy 12 years ago. I had my hormone levels checked and the results came back the levels near zero. My doctor took me off the estrogen pill, as I wasn't absorbing it and put me on a patch. This has worked wonderfully. But even after seeing a dermatologist, GYN and my infectious disease doctor - No one can see anything wrong with causing the issue. They chalk it up to stress. At the first onset, I could understand it as I was going through an awful lot of stress. But after 5-6 years, I just dont believe that would continue to be the case. I'm not under any undue stress that would be causing the hair loss every 6 months. I've done some reading and noticed the HIV meds could cause the hair loss. But I dont know if thats the case with me. I thought creating an account here and reaching out to others to see if anyone else if having the same issue. Please help, Im at my wits end and just want this to end.

Response from Dr. Henry

I have cared for a modest number of patients who may have had hair loss from HIV infection and/or aggravated by HIV meds including zidovudine, lamuvudine, tenofovir, emtricitabine (latter two in truvada), indinavir, and possible some other protease inhibitors. Often difficult to pin down single drug as main culprit since many drugs often used in setting of many health problems. Sometimes useful to switch meds around depending on what options are available. I would like to hear from readers about their experience. KH

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