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Clin Microbiol Rev. Jul 1995; 8(3): 440–450.
PMCID: PMC174635

Cutaneous manifestations of opportunistic infections in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus.


Bacillary angiomatosis (BA) presents most commonly as a cutaneous disease and is caused by two organisms. Bartonella (Rochalimaea) henselae and Bartonella (Rochalimaea) quintana. Biopsy confirmation of cutaneous BA is essential because lesions can mimic nodular Kaposi's sarcoma in appearance. Although the vast majority of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with BA have CD4 lymphocyte counts of less than 100 cells per mm3, the disease responds well to antimicrobial therapy. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common bacterial skin pathogen affecting HIV-infected patients. The prevalence of skin disease due to S. aureus may be explained by high nasal carriage rates for the organism ( > or = 50%) and altered immune function in conjunction with an impaired cutaneous barrier. Herpes simplex virus causes mucocutaneous disease early in the course HIV infection and ulcerative lesions at any site in advanced HIV infection. Herpes zoster is common early in the course of HIV infection; recurrent and disseminated herpes zoster infections are characteristic of patients with advanced HIV disease. Acyclovir resistance is usually seen in patients with large, untreated, ulcerative lesions of herpes simplex virus and in patients with chronic, verrucous lesions of varicella-zoster virus. Cutaneous cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, and coccidiomycosis are markers of disseminated disease and require biopsy confirmation. Scabies is easily diagnosed but may be atypical in presentation and difficult to eradicate in advanced HIV disease.

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Selected References

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