What Are Some Skin Problems That Affect People With HIV?

Skin conditions associated with human immunodeficiency virus are generally classified into three categories: dermatitis, skin tumors and infections as a result of bacteria, fungi, viruses or parasites, informs Healthline. Examples of general dermatitis skin conditions include xerosis, prurigo nodularis, eosinophillic folliculitis and atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition characterized by rashes that are often red, scaly and itchy, explains Healthline. Eosinophillic folliculitis often appears in the later stages of HIV and causes red bumps on hair follicles in the top portion of the body.

Another possible skin condition is photodermatitis, characterized by the skin darkening in color as a result of exposure to the sun, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Any individual with HIV may have photodermatitis, however it is more common in individuals of color and may result as a side effect of immune-strengthening medications.

Infections that are commonly associated with HIV and cause skin conditions include herpes viruses, molluscum contagiosum, thrush and oral hairy leukoplakia, according to Healthline. Oral hairy leukoplakia is the result of a virus that causes white lesions on the tongue. Anti-retroviral treatments may help the body strengthen its immune system and fight the infection.

Molluscum contagiosum is also caused by a virus and is easily spread from person to person through skin contact or by touching the same item, states John Hopkins Medicine. The infection is characterized by harmless bumps on the skin that appear pink or flesh-colored in appearance. Treatments include topical ointments, laser treatment or freezing the bumps with liquid nitrogen.

An example of skin tumors or lesions associated with HIV is kaposi sarcoma, which is a cancer of the lymph nodes or blood vessels that causes lesions on the skin, explains Healthline. These lesions may appear purple, brown or red in color.