Cutaneous photosensitivity refers to an inflam - matory skin reaction arising from an abnormal response to nonionizing radiation. Its association with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease has become increasingly recognized and has served as a useful marker in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression. It is important for health professionals to understand this relationship to ensure accurate diagnosis of patients presenting with photosensitive symptoms, and the timely diagnosis of HIV infection if it is present. It is also necessary because sunlight as a pathogen cannot be avoided as one might avoid cats or penicillin. To go through life, as many of these patients do, with an ‘allergy’ to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and to attempt to avoid it, is a marginalizing experience that often cannot be realistically maintained. Thus, to improve longevity and quality of life for these individuals, it is incumbent that clinicians recognize and offer a sustainable way of managing the various photoinduced reactions seen with HIV infection. Further - more, as the population of those infected with HIV increases, and more patients actually require photo - therapy for treatment of the myriad dermatoses associated with the disease, it is imperative to deter - mine whether light may contribute to the under lying pathogeneses in any way, and whether it benefits patients sufficiently to justify its employment.
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