melanoma by HIV infection?

Question

This forum really helps cause there's really few information you can get here in Japan. I was exposed 8 weeks ago and I believe I'm HIV+. I'm waiting for my 8 week HIV antibody test results. If it's negative I'll take my 3 and 6 month test but I think there's an emergency. During these few weeks, some of my moles are growing and many new ones are emerging! Is it possible that this is melanoma triggered by the immunosuppresion caused by HIV?

Answer

The first priority is to establish whether or not you are HIV positive. You need to know. The second priority is to get some of the moles biopsied. You need to find out whether or not you have melanoma or not. It is not unusual for moles to occasionally grow and change color. Obviously certain moles are more worrisome than others (non-symmetrical moles, moles with multiple colors, larger moles, irregular borders). You ask a good question regarding immunosuppression and melanoma. The data are not final when it comes to this question. At many of the conferences, there have been presentations about HIV'ers and melanoma. It's never clear whether these patients simply had both illnesses, or alternatively whether HIV predisposed them to melanoma as you suggest. We do know that you can treat certain melanomas by boosting the immune system either with interleukin-2 or with interferon. So therefore it makes sense that immunosuppression can aggrevate melanomas; Yet to be honest, most HIV doctors have not seen many HIVers with melanoma. At this point the priority is to find out what you have. Good luck. BD.