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admin 07.09.2014

Human herpesvirus 6: A herpes virus that apparently lies dormant in many people, human herpesvirus 6 is most likely to cause problems when the immune system is compromised by disease, as in AIDS patients, or by deliberate immune suppression, as in organ transplant patients. HIV or Human immunodeficiency Virus is the virus causing the much dreaded disease called AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) which is a syndrome that compromises the ability of the human body to fight against diseases. If the HIV infection is not diagnosed in the initial few weeks, the chances are more that it will be diagnosed only when it becomes full-blown AIDS.
As said above, a person infected with HIV has poor ability to fight against many diseases which are easily overcome by people with normal immune system.
It is a viral infection in adults caused by the virus which causes chicken pox in children. This is a type of cancer seen in AIDS patients which begins as brown, purplish or red skin lesions which darken and become numerous in later stage. As HIV is a disease of the immune system, there are changes in the system that makes a person allergic or hypersensitive to substances which didn’t bother him before, like sunlight and chemicals. Usually the HIV rashes are maculopapular which gives a red hue to the skin with small elevations on it. The Herpes simplex rash which occurs concomitantly in a HIV patient during early stages is similar to that of Herpes simplex in normal people. Picture 6: Herpes zoster rash showing cluster of fluid filled vesicle on an erythematous base.
Commonly the rashes appear on upper body, shoulder, face and chest, sometimes on feet and hand. The rash appears in the limbs and upper body in children while it is present in inner aspect of thigh, abdomen and genitals suggesting that it is transmitted sexually.

Rash caused by herpes simplex 1 is found around the mouth and lips and herpes simplex2 causes rash in the genitals. Rashes caused by Anti retroviral drugs are present in the upper body and in the limbs near the body. The HIV rash which is appears within 6 weeks of exposure to the virus lasts for few weeks and resolve spontaneously. The rashes caused by Anti – HIV medications range from mild to severely life threatening. In case of rashes caused by medication, it can be discontinued and another group of drug can be tried.
On entering the human body, the virus starts attacking the policemen of our body, the lymphocytes, particularly T helper cells (CD4 cells). One has to keep in mind that, rash is a symptom nearly as common as fever and should not jump into conclusion based on rash, that they have got HIV until they get tested positive.
Being one among them, almost all HIV infected people experience skin changes at some stage of the disease and rash is the most common skin manifestation of HIV.
These diseases are mostly seen among HIV patients and in some other conditions that cause poor immune status like diabetes and are called opportunistic infections. In most conditions, patients with HIV have previous history of exposure to Herpes simples which gets reactivated. But in people with HIV, the rashes take awfully longer duration to get cured and have more chance of recurrence. The mild rash appears within 2 weeks of using the medications and they disappear within weeks without any treatment.

So, it is important for people with high risk of acquiring HIV and for individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV, not to ignore the subtle and confusing symptoms like rash and fever. As the symptoms resemble the common cold, it is important to know about the rash and other symptoms of early HIV infection to find it in the budding stage and differentiate it from the numerous other diseases which present with a rash. The rashes which are caused by opportunistic infections and drugs in the later stage of HIV infection are associated with itching. But very rarely some medication like Nevirapine causes serious skin lesions like Steven Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis and affects at least 30% of the total surface area of the skin and may cause death [1, 2].
Every medical decision and medication should be taken only after consultation with a clinician. Sometimes, a rash which is not itchy initially may begin to itch after taking a faulty medication. So it is necessary to consult a clinician immediately after the appearance of a rash to find the cause and treat it accordingly. Treatment is experimental at this time, but anti-viral drugs or beta interferon may be tried.

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