HIV Rash Symptoms

HIV Rash Symptoms

HIV or “Human Immunodeficiency Virus” is the virus which develops into AIDS. An important symptom of HIV is a dark skin rash which occurs around 3 weeks after infection with the virus. It is vital to know the signs or symptoms of this HIV rash so that proper steps can be taken to diagnose and battle this disease. HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system. During its initial assault (which is known as acute infection or primary infection), your immune system tries to mount a defense. That defense can cause many people to develop symptoms that usually go away after a few days. Here’s the catch: Those symptoms, when they do occur (most people experience only very minor symptoms, some people experience none at all), are almost impossible to tell apart from symptoms you might get if you have another type of viral infection, such as the flu.

The skin rashes in patients with HIV infection occur due to fall in the number of white blood cell count. The HIV rashes can occur at any stage of infection but generally, they are noticed after 2-3 weeks of the contract with virus. Nevertheless, those who skip this phase may develop HIV rashes later in their infectious period.

When people are first infected with HIV, they may experience an acute, ‘flu-like’ illness called a ‘seroconversion illness,’ about 2-4 weeks after being infected. The HIV rash is a symptom of this illness. The rash will mostly affect the upper part of the body and will probably be found on the shoulder, chest area, face, torso and palms of the hands. Typically the rash will be flat or barely raised with small reddish dots/ spots (resembling eczema) in people with light skin, and dark purple/ black in people with dark skin. The rash should not really itch and should disappear within 3 weeks.

HIV rashes can occur at any part of the body. It is the result of body’s immune system fighting the infection of HIV. It can also happen due to adverse drug reaction (as side effects of medicines used to treat HIV infection) or allergy during the infection period. Most of The HIV rashes may subside on their own, rashes because of drug reaction may require strict medical attention.

Following are the features of HIV rashes seen in patients.

  • The patient develops brown or red lump like pimples. They appear like eczema and are formed in clusters
  • HIV infection may cause lesion as a result of peeling of skin
  • HIV rash could be itchy in some rare cases
  • Though HIV rashes may occur at any part of body in some rare cases genitals, eyes and mouth (buccal cavity) are affected
  • Rashes due to HIV infection are not transmissible, and they last up to 2-3 weeks

At times, there are other symptoms observed along with HIV rashes. They are mentioned below:

  • Amnesia (loss of memory)
  • Loose motion
  • FUO (fever of unknown origin)
  • Muscle pain
  • Cramps and body ache
  • Enlargement of glands
  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Anorexia (loss of appetite) and due to this, weight loss
  • Joint pain

HIV Rashes due to adverse medicine reaction

Some antiretroviral medicines are known to cause side effects of skin rashes in some cases. These medicines are used to treat HIV infection and its symptoms. Amprenavir, abacavir and nevirapine are few examples of the drugs that can cause HIV skin rashes. Stopping of these drugs may help fade the rashes.

Acute HIV rashes

Acute skin rashes due to HIV infection occur within a few days of infection getting into the body. This type of HIV rash is noticed with other symptoms. Though the rashes may occur at any part of the body, common body sites include thorax, back and palms. Rashes of this type are difficult to diagnose and may require further investigation through various body tests.

Symptomatic HIV Rashes

During the third phase of HIV infection, the patient is likely to develop skin rashes mainly due to dermatitis. Rashes of this type are pinkish or reddish in color, and at times, they itch. According to an estimation, this may last up to one to three years. The common body parts where symptomatic HIV rashes are found include groin, underarms, chest, scalp face and back.

Herpes as the main cause of HIV Rashes

HIV infected person, if suffering from the condition of herpes is more likely to develop rashes. Also, HIV if accompanied by herpes makes the case worst. Both cases are serious STDs, and the mortality rate in such patients is extremely high.

The rashes occurring in this condition are present with other symptoms of herpes. The rashes are reddish and filled with fluid. After some days, they burst and spread. If the condition is not controlled soon, it may result in the death of the patient.