Dry skin

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Dry skin may take a number of forms - small patches of dry, red flaky skin (see Dermatitis for more details of this condition) - or more general drying of the skin.


General skin dryness is usually associated with treatment with indinavir (Crixivan), and to a lesser extent, 3TC (lamivudine, Epivir).

Indinavir can affect the suppleness and the renewal of skin because it interferes with retinoid metabolism. The reason for dry skin on 3TC treatment is unknown.

Infection with human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type I (HTLV-I) and hepatitis C virus has been shown to increase the risk of dermatitis in HIV-positive individuals.

What to do

Moisturising the skin is the first option for treating dry skin, but may need the use of very strong moisturising creams provided by an HIV clinic to see any improvement. These include Balneum, Diprobase and Oilatum, and need to be applied every day, and every time someone washes.

Dry skin tends to be accompanied by dry lips, and it's important to keep the lips moist by using lip balm, especially in cold weather.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.