HIV Rash

HIV rash is one of the early symptoms of an HIV infection and almost all HIV patients experience the outcome of rashes in their body or some skin changes at some stage of the disease. The rash usually occurs within the one to two months after an initial infection. The rashes come out because of:

  • hiv-rashAn acute HIV infection
  • A weak immune system caused by chronic infection
  • A reaction to the medications for HIV

The HIV rash usually appears as a red and flattened area of the patient’s skin which is mostly covered with small red bumps. The rash is commonly found in the face and chest but sometimes shows up in the feet and hands and they are noticeably itchy. In some cases, the patient can also have mouth ulcers.

HIV rashes can also be mild to severe and be life-threatening. There are two serious skin problems that can be caused by a bad reaction to anti-HIV drugs:

  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) – this is a rare condition that affects the skin and mucous membranes. The patient mostly experiences flu-like symptoms and then red or purplish rash comes out that causes the affected skin to die and shed.
  • Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) – this is also a rare, but life-threatening skin condition that mostly occurs as blisters that cover a certain part of the body. An extensive peeling in the affected area then happens and may even cause redness in the dermis (second layer of the skin)

Although an HIV rash can be life-threatening, it can still be prevented by taking medications. For mild rashes, there are over-the-counter medications that can lessen the pain and itching. The most common creams applied on the rash are hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl. For more serious cases, it may require a treatment from a physician.

Aside from medications, there are a few things that a patient can avoid to prevent the rashes from becoming severe.

  • Avoid heat and direct sunlight.
  • Do not take hot baths or showers.
  • Avoid eating food that may cause more itching to the rashes.

If you have experienced this kind of rash and you suspect that you are positive for HIV, you should get an HIV Early Detection test immediately.