What skin conditions are common in children with HIV infection?

Many common skin conditions occur in children who are HIV-infected. However, they are more severe, and often take longer to respond to treatment, than in children who are not immunosuppressed. Common skin conditions in children with HIV infection are:

  • Pruritic papular urticaria (‘itchy bump disease’)
  • Severe molluscum contagiosum
  • Severe candidiasis nappy rash, which may ulcerate
  • Widespread warts
  • Severe chicken pox or shingles due to Varicella zoster virus
  • Severe scabies, which may involve the whole body
  • Severe tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp)
  • Severe impetigo
  • Severe seborrhoeic dermatitis

Any of these severe skin conditions, especially shingles, suggests that the child is infected with HIV. Molluscum contagiosum and warts are often extensive and do not recover spontaneously. Severe tinea capitis and impetigo often need systemic therapy and do not respond to local treatment.

Skin conditions and their management are discussed in unit 12.

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