Diffuse HIV-associated seborrheic dermatitis - a case series

Int J STD AIDS. 2016 Dec;27(14):1342-1345. doi: 10.1177/0956462416641816. Epub 2016 Mar 24.


Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) is reported to have distinct clinical and histologic presentations in patients with HIV infection. Here we present 20 cases to further define some of these unique characteristics. Common features include erythematous, scaly papules, and plaques involving areas beyond the typical seborrheic distribution; thick, greasy scale on the scalp; and an increased frequency of erythroderma. Histologically, there is widespread parakeratosis, spongiosis, and necrotic keratinocytes. Treatment is often difficult, requiring prolonged use of oral and topical antifungals and corticosteroids as well as antibiotics for bacterial superinfection. SD with these features represents a marker for HIV infection and can aid in early diagnosis.

Keywords: AIDS; HIV; Seborrheic dermatitis; dermatology; human immunodeficiency virus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis*
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / complications*
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / drug therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Dermatologic Agents