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HIV and AIDS

Any Correlations Between Psoriasis And HIV

02/19/2002

Question:

Hi. I am a 29 year old man who has a mild case of psoriasis. Is there a connection between this and HIV? I have recently tested negative for an HIV blood test and have not engaged in risky sex in over 7 years. I worry because the psoriasis developed out of the blue when I was 23 and I`ve never understood why.

I had unprotected sex in my early 20`s. My family doctor said there is no link and my dermatologist said the same. 7 years ago, not long after the psoriasis developed, I went to a medical clinic about my then undiagnosed skin condition and the first thing the nurse asked me was "Have you ever had an aids test?" This traumatized me and still haunts me to this moment. Even though I tested negative. The nurse did not know what I had and this untactful inquiry did immense damage to my mental and emotional well-being. Please, if you would, shed further light on this for me. Your response would be more than appreciated. Thanks for your time.

Answer:

Since you tested negative for HIV you probably do not have HIV. If you are unsure, you can retest in 6 months. Most people with psoriasis do not have HIV. We do not know exactly what causes psoriasis in these people. HIV infection can cause psoriasis and other skin conditions; we do not know exactly how. People who have both psoriasis and HIV can get better with HIV therapy. HIV therapy does not help people who have psoriasis without HIV.

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Response by:

Amy Beth Kressel, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati