Rash is one of the first symptoms of HIV, showing up within the first couple of months after initial infection, according to Healthline. About 90 percent of people with HIV develop alterations and symptoms relating to the skin at some point, and rash is the most frequent HIV symptom.
Typically, HIV rash is a red, flat spot on the skin that has several small bumps on it. The causes vary depending on the patient. Sometimes they are a result of initial infection, while in other cases they result from the beginning of a different medication regimen. If this is the case, the rash shows up within a week or two of the patient starting the new medicine, according to the Owen Clinic.
HIV patients also develop rash as a result of molluscum contagiosum, herpes zoster and herpes simplex infections, reports the Owens Clinic. Kaposi sarcoma lesions and drug eruptions can also cause the outbreak. If the herpes zoster virus is the cause for the infection, the rash develops into shingles, which is a blistering, uncomfortable rash that resembles water blisters along one side of the body. If shingles appear, the chickenpox virus has been reawakened within the body as part of the weakening that HIV causes in the immune system.