Fever and rash in HIV


Nearly all patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) experience a fever and skin rash at some point after diagnosis.
A fever and rash are symptoms of an underlying medical condition. An estimated 80-90% of HIV patients develop fever and rash when they first become infected with HIV. This is because the virus is multiplying rapidly in the body and infecting immune cells. This phase generally lasts several weeks. Other common causes of fever and rash in HIV patients include allergic reactions to medications, infections, and a cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma (KS).
Rash is a general term that describes a change in color and texture in the skin. A rash generally causes temporary red patches or bumps in the skin, and it may be itchy and/or tender. The affected skin is often swollen.
A fever is an increase in normal body temperature. Healthy individuals typically have a body temperature of about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The body temperature fluctuates by about one degree throughout the day. If a baby younger than 12 months old has a temperature higher than 100 degrees, a healthcare provider should be consulted immediately. Adults and children who have temperatures higher than 102 degrees that are not responding to medications, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), should consult their healthcare providers.
Once the underlying cause of fever and rash is treated, symptoms will gradually disappear. Allergic reactions to medications are usually severe and may require immediate treatment with epinephrine. Infections are treated with antimicrobials, and Kaposi's sarcoma has been treated with local and systemic therapies, such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Related Terms

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, allergic drug reaction, allergic reaction, allergy, anaphylaxis, antimicrobials, antiretroviral therapy, antiretrovirals, ART, drug reaction, epinephrine, fever, HAART, highly active antiretroviral therapy, HIV, human immunodeficiency syndrome, immune, immune defense system, immune reaction, immune response, immune system, immunocompromised, immunodeficiency, infections, rash, skin rash, viral infection, virus, weakened immune system, white blood cells.