confused: is folliculitis a symptom of HIV?

Question

Dear Dr. I have been reading your replys for quite sometime now. First off, thank you for takng the time to answer people's questions. I am confused. You say that folliculitis is not a symptom but often occurs in people with hiv. Would that not make it a symptom? When does this occur in people with hiv? (if they are to get it?).Thank you.

Answer

For something to be a symptom of a disease, it has to be specific or at least characteristic of that disease. Folliculitis is an extremely common skin problem, and occurs in both HIV+ and HIV- people, so it is not a "symptom" of HIV, and having folliculitis is not a clue to a diagnosis of HIV disease. I hope that makes it clearer.