What Are Some Skin Problems Associated With HIV?


Quick Answer

Some skin problems associated with the human immunodeficiency virus include dermatitis or rashes, infections, and tumors, especially Kaposi's sarcoma, which looks like dark-colored lesions, according to Healthline. Such skin problems can be early indicators that a person has HIV, notes WebMD.

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Skin rashes are the most common signs of the HIV infection, explains Healthline. Some examples are xerosis, or dry, itchy, scaly patches affecting the arms and legs; atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic inflammatory rash; prurigo nodularis, which are lumps affecting people with severely weakened immune systems; and eosinophillic folliculitis, a disease consisting of red bumps in hair follicles in those with advanced stages of HIV.

Skin infections associated HIV can include bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic conditions, says Healthline. The herpes zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox, typically results in shingles. It usually begins with numbness that turns into a painful band of bumps on one side of the body, says WebMD. Another HIV-related condition is a very contagious virus called molluscum contagiosum, which produces unsightly pink bumps. Oral infections, such as the fungal condition thrush, can also appear as a white layer on the tongue.

In particular, Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancer that can spread quickly throughout the body in people with HIV. It affects the mucous membranes, lungs, lymph and digestive systems, according to WebMD and Healthline. Skin can swell, and the lesions are brown, purple or red. At this point, HIV has developed into AIDS.

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