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Skin conditions related to HIV and AIDS

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:49 pm
As a result of their compromised immune systems, patients with HIV (H-I-V) or AIDS (aids) are vulnerable to a number of skin diseases. Many of these are common skin disorders, but in HIV or AIDS patients, the symptoms tend to be much more severe. During the early phase of HIV infection, 95 percent of patients will experience herpes simplex (SIHM-plecks) Type 1 or 2, causing painful, recurrent out breaks of sores around the mouth or genitals. Problems such as candidiasis (Can-dih-DYE-uh-sihs) and herpes zoster (ZAWST-uhr) may also occur and become progressively worse. Candidiasis is a fungal infection that causes a burning, itchy rash, while herpes zoster results in shingles, an extremely uncomfortable rash that may hurt even after the sores have healed. Other skin conditions affecting HIV and AIDS patients are rarely seen in the general population. One example is infection by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus, (staf-uhl-oh-KAW-kuhs AR-ee-uhs) which may cause skin blisters, boils, and infection of the hair follicles. Another is a cancerous growth known as Kaposi's sarcoma (kuh-POH-seez sawr-KOH-muh), which is typically considered one of the defining symptoms of full-blown AIDS. These lesions usually strike men and may first appear as a small brown or black spot on dark individuals or a purple, bruise-like mark on those with lighter skin.
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