HIV rash is a rash that only occurs in HIV patients. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus which is often preceding condition for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The condition is extremely serious so much that it gradually breaks down the immune system and HIV rash is one of the associated symptoms. These rashes may appear in approximately 2 months from the time of infection. Often people mistake with standard rashes. These rashes may not be caused by the virus alone but in some cases, certain medications may also trigger occurrence of such skin irregularities. It is recorded that in about 90% cases of HIV, people also experience HIV rashes.
HIV rash’s severity may vary as some patients may experience mild rashes while in others, it can be intense enough to be fatal. This skin anomaly can be extremely itchy in nature. In some individuals the rashes may also leave permanent scars. In less serious incidences, such dermatologic anomalies may be the result of exposure to sunlight or certain chemicals.
What does an HIV Rash look like?
HIV rash is generally slightly reddish in color. Severity of these rashes would determine the appearance in many cases. They often manifest as flat, reddish skin region with small red bumps. They may appear to be standard acne but by nature they may be intense. These are also sometimes accompanied with fluid- filled blisters. Common body regions where rashes may appear are hands, legs back, torso or almost anywhere on the body.
HIV rashes and associated symptoms
This skin manifestation of HIV becomes obvious around 2 months from the time of infection. Individuals affected with these rashes may additionally have blisters occurring around the eyes, mouth and genital area. There are also some associated symptoms which may be experienced alongside HIV rashes and these may include:
- Reddish or brownish appearing skin bumps resembling eczema
- Peeling of skin on the affected area
- Inflamed hair follicles
- Itchiness of bumps
- Diarrhea or loose feces
- Head pain
- Pain in the joint
- Muscle pain
- Ocular impairment
- Dramatic reduction in weight
- Swelling of glands
- Fatigue or Tiredness
- Loss of memory
In considerably progressed cases of HIV infection these symptoms may be of serious nature and may aggravate to severe complications.
Causes of HIV rash
HIV rashes are primarily caused due to HIV infection. Individuals suffering with first stage of HIV may also experience these rashes. HIV virus is an awful retrovirus which typically, initially affects tissues covering anal area, mouth, eyes and vagina. There are three stages of progression of the disease. The primary stage of infection is often characterized by flu-like symptoms. Manifestation of these rashes may also take place during sero-conversion stage. During this stage the noticeable antibodies are produced in the blood against the present infectious agents.
As mentioned above sometimes medications used as a treatment may also result in rashes. There are certain medications such as amprenavir, nevirapine as well as abacavir which are used for alleviating symptoms of primary stage may cause reactions and lead to side effects. The virus can significantly weaken the immune system which deprives the body of its ability to combat even minor infections which may sometimes result in rashes.
Diagnosing HIV rashes
HIV rashes may sometimes be mistaken for general rashes which is why they are often left unaddressed. Chronic rashes are often difficult to be diagnosed as they are associated with various skin disorders. There are two blood tests which are routinely done in order to determine whether rashes and other symptoms are indication of HIV. HIV infected person has lower amount of CD4 cell count. This is why the first test is CD 4 count test. HIV patients often show increased viral load in their body. Increment in viral load increase the chances of CD4 depletion. Hence, the second suggested examination for confirmation of HIV is viral load test. Disease may progress with augmentation of viral load. This test is also helpful in determining the efficacy of ongoing treatment. If the viral load in blood decreases after onset of the treatment, then perhaps the treatment is working.
HIV Rash Treatment
Rashes are initial symptoms of HIV. These rashes appear in approximately 2 months and may ebb away in around 1 week to 2 weeks. They may completely disappear during the symptomless or dormant stage of the condition. HIV rashes can be cured with alleviation of HIV infection but unfortunately there is no treatment that can reverse HIV. However there are treatments that can help in slowing down or stopping the progression of the disease.
There are also techniques and medications suggested for dealing with associated symptoms. Doctor may suggest you non-prescription medications that may provide relief from itching and irritation. Patients affected with HIV rash are often suggested to avoid exposure to excessive heat and cold environment as it may exacerbate the condition and lead to discomfort. Rashes, especially HIV rashes, should not be ignored as they are indication of a fatal disease. Though rashes may indicate less serious medical conditions, it is always better to consult a doctor and seek advice.