HIV Rash Treatment

If you do notice this kind of rash and it’s associated with any other acute symptoms of HIV, you should get HIV tested immediately. You can order an HIV test kit online from one of our doctors, and find out your status within two days. Over-the-counter medications like Benadryl or Hydrocortisone Cream can be used to shrink rashes and lessen itching. Try to avoid hot baths, showers and direct sunlight where possible.

If the pain is unbearable and your heat rash continues to get worse in color, texture, or pain, you should immediately contact your internal medicine doctor or your dermatologist to seek medical attention.

Ongoing HIV rashes can be managed somewhat with steroid creams and antihistamines, but these conditions will be difficult to eradicate completely and recurrence is usual. Most of these conditions will improve dramatically with effective anti-retroviral treatment. Phototherapy has proved effective at managing folliculitis in some patients.


HIV rashes can be itchy, irritating and unsightly. But there are ways of managing outbreaks:

  • Avoid hot showers or baths.
  • Use only mild toiletries and detergents.
  • Wear cool fibres like cotton and stay away from wool.
  • Invest in an air-humidifier.
  • Use moisturizers/ emollients or calamine lotion.

If you’re using anti-retroviral medication you should really avoid taking antihistamine tablets unless approved by your doctor as these can interfere with medication. The treatment of HIV rash depends upon the causes and responsible factor. If it is due to side effects of the medicines, it is advised to stop, and alternative medicines are prescribed. The patients may consider below mentioned points in order to prevent HIV rash from occurrence.

  • Over the counter medicine such as Hydrocortisone cream may help alleviate the itching from HIV rashes
  • Direct sunlight, cold climate or extreme heat –these are triggering factors for HIV rashes. To get rid of HIV rashes, one should avoid all these.
  • Hot water worsens the case and thus the sufferer should not take a bath with hot water or shower. Instead, cold water bath (or better sponging) is advisable
  • Unprotected sex, blood transfusion or any fluid of the body should be avoided to come in contact with the other person
  • Wearing soft cotton clothes is advisable. Tight fitting attire may worsen the case of HIV rash
  • Try to avoid bathing with chemical based soap. Instead, go for herbal body wash
  • In order to heal and treat HIV rash other than drug over reaction, let main medicine course (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy – HAART) to improve t-cell count continue. This may help treat the symptoms like HIV rash as well.

UCSD reports that skin problems like rashes have fortunately become less severe, less common, and easier to treat in those living with HIV. This is due to advances in viral control and immune system preservation (UCSD, 2013). The most common form of treatment to manage HIV rash is medication. For milder forms, over-the-counter drugs—such as hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl—may be helpful to decrease itching and rash size. More serious rashes require treatment from your doctor.

In addition to medication, some lifestyle changes may be effective at helping to alleviate the symptoms of mild HIV rash. Avoiding heat and direct sunlight can improve the rash. Hot showers and baths can make the rash worse. Be on the lookout for what coincides with development of your rash. If you’ve just started a new medication, tried a new soap, or eaten a particular food before your rash starts, it’s possible an allergy may be the cause. If in doubt, talk to your doctor.

Though a rash is uncomfortable, it can be useful in helping your doctor to identify and diagnose an HIV infection. Talk to your doctor right away if you notice skin changes or if you experience itchiness, redness, or discomfort. You can take steps to manage the condition and improve your quality of life.