Skin diseases are common problems in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In many cases, the Dermatologist may be the first medical professional to encounter an individual with HIV infection. It is, therefore, vital that Dermatolo - gists recognize the cutaneous manifestations of HIV infection and AIDS so that the diagnosis can be established as early as possible and appropriate therapy can be instituted soon thereafter. In times past, this was important to lessen the likelihood of a patient developing a life-threatening opportunistic infection. Today, following diagnosis of HIV infec - tion, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is instituted, which can essentially eradi cate HIV viral loads, rendering them undetectable and significantly lessening the patient’s chance of developing a complication, infectious or otherwise. Many different skin disorders may be seen in these patients ranging from infections such as lues and mycobacterial infections, to other inflammatory conditions such as drug eruptions, psoriasis, and sarcoidosis. Depending on the patient’s immune status, skin disorders may appear similar to those seen in immunocompetent patients or they may be unusual and bizarre especially when CD4 cell counts are low. In any event, the skin is a very common site where diseases are manifest in HIV infected patients and any medical professional who takes care of these individuals must be cognizant of these manifestations and know how to manage them.
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