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HIV Skin Rash - Images, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Updated on October 18, 2013

About 40 to 90 percent of patients will develop HIV rash when they are infected by the virus. The condition is so common with HIV that it is taken as an early sign in diagnosing patients who are ill.

What does HIV rash look like?

HIV rash is usually red, and the severity will depend on how much viral load that a patient has. In most cases the patients have several raised bumps on the skin.

What are the causes of HIV rash?

HIV rash is seen in people who have been infected by the HIV virus. Acute infection is the most common cause. HIV is a dreaded virus which goes to the tissues of the vagina, mouth, eyes, and anal region. There are three stages of the infection by HIV. HIV rash is one of the first signs of infection and will appear accompanied by flu-like symptoms. The rash may be caused by the reaction of the body against the invading virus, as antibodies are produced. Similarly, antiretroviral drugs that are used to manage the infection in these early stages can also cause the rash to appear. The immune system of the body can also be suppressed to the point where it cannot fight off infectious agents thereby causing the rash to appear.

What are the symptoms of HIV rash?

2-3 weeks after infection by the HIV virus, the patient will begin noticing the small angry rash blisters. They can occur on any part of the body, be it the face, chest, legs, trunk, back. For men, the rash may be accompanied by clusters in the mouth, genitals and eyes. HIV rash is characterized by the following symptoms.

  • Brown or red skin bumps that resemble those of eczema
  • Itchy bumps on the skin
  • The skin begins to peel
  • The patient will have fever and diarrhea.
  • The patient will lose weight unintentionally
  • The patient will suffer from headaches
  • There will be inflammation of some of the hair follicles on the head or body.
  • The patient will have problems focusing visually
  • The patent will have hurting muscles and the glands will be swollen
  • The patient suffers from memory lapses
  • The patient suffers from pain in the joints and easily gets fatigued.

Sometimes the symptoms of HIV rash can be very severe leading to certain complications. The HIV rash is extremely itchy and one has to be careful that the skin does not break leading to a secondary infection to an already compromised immune system.

What is the diagnosis for HIV rash?

It is usually very difficult to correctly diagnose any kind of rash without a lab test. The doctor will take note of the rash and then ask you to take a blood test. There are two blood tests that must be conducted to see how far the disease has progressed.

  • The first will tell the number of CD4 cells that you have in your blood. Most patients show a low CD4 count when they take this test, because the immune system has been seriously compromised.
  • The second will tell about the viral load in the blood. Usually the two figures are on opposite ends, since those with a high viral load, also exhibit a low CD4 count. There will be more progression of the disease in people who have a low CD4 count. The viral load is also used to assess how well a patient is responding when put on an antiretroviral regimen.

What is the treatment of HIV rash?

HIV rash will usually stay for about 14 days and will then disappear on its own. When it disappears, the disease has now entered the dormant phase. There is no treatment for HIV infections and the only thing that doctors can do is to give antiretroviral drugs which will boost the CD4 count. The patient will be given over-the-counter medication to provide relief from the itchiness and the burning. The rash can be aggravated by severe heat and cold, so these must be avoided at all costs. Use tepid water when you want to wash.

HIV rash must not be ignored given that the disease is potentially fatal if not managed in good time. Any signs of a rash must be given due diligence, and medical help must be sought. The HIV rash can be stopped fr5om spreading to other parts of the body as long as the patient gets to the doctor in good time.

HIV rash can also cause mouth ulcers and these can be very disconcerting. The sores are usually large and will make the lips seem puffier. The sores will also cause the patient to have foul smelling breath. It is best to use antimicrobial solutions which you can gurgle

Hiv Rash Pictures


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