300 HIV and AIDS
Skin rashes and itching
It is often difficult to know what causes skin rashes and
itching. Many skin problems can be helped by keeping the body
clean. Try to wash once a day with mild soap and clean water.
If the skin becomes too dry, wash less often and do not use
soap. Try rubbing petroleum gel, glycerin, or vegetable oils into
the skin after bathing. Wear loose cotton clothing.
Allergic reactions, which often cause an itchy rash, are more
common in people with HIV. Medicines that contain sulfa
(like cotrimoxazole) may cause especially bad reactions for a
few people. If you are using these medicines and you get an
itchy rash, itchy eyes, vomiting or dizziness, stop taking them
immediately and see a health worker. She may be able to give
you a non-sulfa medicine that will work.
Fungal infections (yeast, candida)
Fungal infections are difficult to describe because they can
look like many different things. Some fungal infections look
like round, red, or scaly patches that itch.
Women with HIV can also get frequent
yeast infections in the vagina.
You may have a fungal infection
if you have a skin problem in one of
• If you have red, itchy
patches, keep the area
clean and dry. If possible,
keep the area uncovered
and open to the air and
• Apply nystatin cream
3 times a day or gentian
violet 2 times a day until
the rash is completely gone.
• If you have a bad fungal infection, take ketoconazole, one
200 mg tablet by mouth each day for 10 days, or 100 to
200 mg of fluconazole by mouth each day for 7 to 14 days.
Do not take either of these medicines if you are pregnant.
(Also see page 305 for information on thrush, a fungal
infection in the mouth.)
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012