Generalized papular pruritic eruption in African patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection

R. Colebunders, J. M. Mann, H. Francis, K. Bila, L. Izaley, N. Kakonde, A. F. Hood, T. C. Quinn, P. Gigase, E. Van Marck, G. Vercauteren, J. W. Curran, P. Piot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Of 284 patients hospitalized with HIV infection, 52 (18%) presented with a generalized pruritic papular eruption. No significant association between this eruption and other HIV manifestations or any opportunistic infection was found. Fifty-three of 61 (87%) consecutive African patients referred for a generalized papular pruritic eruption of unkown etiology of at least 1 month's duration were HIV seropositive, including 15 (65%) of 23 in good general condition. Thirty-seven (95%) of 38 patients with this eruption and severe weight loss (> 10% of normal body weight) were seropositive. The initial skin lesions were small, firm, intensely pruritic papules which released a small drop of clear fluid when scratched. Scratched papules became later hyperpigmented macules. Lesions were symmetrically distributed over the body and were most frequently found on the extensor surfaces of the arm, the dorsal surface of the hands, inferior part of the legs, the ankels and the dorsum of the feet. Histologic examination showed a non-specific inflammatory reaction. Thirty-three (51%) patients reported that the skin eruption was their initial disease manifestation. In African patients, the presence of an unexplained generalized pruritic papular eruption is highly indicative of HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-121
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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