Effect Of HIV On Human Hair

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Before I start, let me say little on HIV/AIDS


HIV, which is in full, human immunodeficiency virus, is one of a group of viruses known as retroviruses. It is a virus that got its history decades ago from infected chimpanzees to one that infects humans.

It was said and recorded to have begun to spread beyond the African continent in the late 1970s and recently, it has spread all over the world.

Statistics show that 40 million people are currently affected, 40 million have died and HIV has been particularly devastating in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for almost 70% of new HIV infections globally.

HIV is a viral infection that attacks the immune system and causes several symptoms and complications. Although people with HIV may experience hair loss, it is not a typical symptom.

Other factors, such as medications and co-occurring conditions, may contribute to thinning hair. Hair loss is common in patients with HIV.

Possible causes of hair loss frequently are present in patients with HIV, including chronic HIV infection itself, acute and chronic systemic infections, local infections, nutritional deficits, immune and endocrine dysregulation, and exposure to multiple drugs.

Alopecia areata and alopecia universal is also have been reported in patients with HIV

Do You Know?

85% of HIV transmission is through heterosexual intercourse and almost half of people with HIV are women. The proportion of HIV/AIDS cases among women in the US more than tripled from seven percent in 1985 to 22 percent in 2011.

That means that about one in four Americans living with HIV is a woman. The good news is that, from 2008 to 2010, women represented a noticeably smaller percentage of new HIV infections (21 percent decrease) after more than ten years of steadily increasing numbers.

Women currently account for one in five new HIV infections in the US.

What The World Health organization Said……The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that almost 18 million adults living with HIV are women. Although women account for approximately half of all people living with HIV worldwide, the percentage of women who are living with HIV varies widely among countries. Estimates suggest that one in three people living with HIV in the United Kingdom are women; almost four out of ten people living with HIV in India are women, and almost six in ten people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reports that, in 26 of 31 countries with generalized epidemics of HIV/AIDS, fewer than half of young women in these countries have correct and thorough knowledge about HIV.

HIV, when neglected without adequate treatment, starts to cause symptoms that will lead to illness with impaired immune function. After getting into the body, the virus enters many different cells, incorporates its genes into the human DNA, and hijacks the cell to produce HIV virus. This symptomatic phase has been referred to as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or HIV disease.

Once you are infected with HIV, It’s a lifelong infection though it’s treatable and can be controlled with medications. But remember, only consistent treatment using highly specialized antiviral medications can treat it.

HIV infection progresses in three very general stages.

  • Acute HIV infection.

At this stage, you might see its symptom after two to four weeks after HIV infection which will disappear within few weeks  like Fever, Headache, open sores or ulcers in the mouth (like canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers), fatigue, weight loss, sweating or night sweats, appetite loss, rash that may come and go quickly, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck and groin.

For some other people, they may not have any noticeable symptoms during this stage.

  • Clinical Latency Stage (HIV Dormancy)

At this stage, the virus appears to become dormant, and the person feels normal. , the virus is still active, but symptoms are mild or not present.

Without treatment, people may remain in this stage for around 10 years. But ignorantly, the virus continues to multiply actively. At a point, it kills the cells like the white blood cell called CD4 cells or T helper cells (T cells) Even though the person has no symptoms. At this stage, it’s contagious. . But with ART, people can remain in the clinical latency stage for life.


When the virus overwhelms the CD4 cells(white blood cells that play a vital role in immune function), it count begins to drop, symptoms like Lymphoma (a form of cancer of the lymphoid tissue) can cause fever and swollen lymph nodes throughout the body, A cancer of the soft tissues called Kaposi’s sarcoma causes brown, reddish, or purple lumps that develop on the skin or in the mouth starts to rise. That shows that the HIV infection has elevated To AIDS.



People with HIV can experience thinning hair, but it may not be related to their illness.

HIV does not typically cause hair loss in people who are receiving treatment and leading a healthy life. However, many people with HIV can experience thinning hair unrelated to the condition

Hair loss is really one of those side effects of early HIV medications such as AZT, Crixivan, and Atripla. Acyclovir (Zovirax), a common medication used to treat genital herpes, can cause hair loss. Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe acyclovir to people with HIV. It can be used to treat or prevent herpes of the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth, which can develop along with HIV infection.

But I guessed, modern-day antiretroviral therapy generally doesn’t cause hair loss.

Let’s discuss some CONDITIONS that cause Hair loss and how it got related to HIV.

  • The STD syphilis can also result in hair loss.( Hair loss is a symptom of syphilis), The presence of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may also increase a person’s risk of hair loss

  • Telogen effluvium – it occurs when too many hairs stop growing for too long of a period. When new hair finally begins to grow, it pushes the resting hairs out, resulting in shedding. telogen effluvium can result from an infection, chronic illness, physical or psychological stress, and poor nutrition (especially a protein deficiency). These factors are all also associated with HIV.Any of these can “shock” a person’s system and result in hair loss. Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss that occurs after a stressful or traumatic event, so People with HIV can be especially susceptible to telogen effluvium as a result of physical or emotional stressors, including poor nutrition, an infection, or the challenges of living with a chronic illness.

  • Hair loss is a natural part of aging for many people. People with HIV receiving medication now have a near-normal life expectancy. Many may experience hair loss as they grow older.


AIDS infographics (a roadmap of AIDS transmission, symptoms, therapy, preventive ) (flat/simple color style ) ( gender sign and heart, syringe, blood bag, fetal, HIV, viral syndrome, etc )

There was a time, HIV/AIDS medication wasn’t available but recently with the help of therapist under the supervision of physicians, there is now a treatable medication that has greatly reduced HIV-related complications and deaths. These drugs have been called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). More commonly, they are simply referred to as ART.

ART drugs are needed to suppress the virus from replicating and boost the immune system. it is important to receive medical treatment for HIV/AIDS, patients may use home remedies or alternative medicine along with standard HIV treatment to improve overall health.

It is important to talk to your doctor before trying alternative therapies as some can interfere with the effectiveness of or cause negative effects with HIV drugs.

Some of the active antiretroviral therapy that will prevent the virus to make a copy of itself:

Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs): These include medications such as zidovudine (AZT, Retrovir), didanosine (ddI, Videx), stavudine (d4T, Zerit), lamivudine (3TC, Epivir), abacavir (ABC, Ziagen), emtricitabine (FTC, Emtriva), tenofovir (TDF, Viread), and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF).

Combination NRTIs include tenofovir/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC, Truvada), emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (TAF/FTC, Descovy), zidovudine/lamivudine (Combivir), abacavir/lamivudine (Epzicom or Kivexa), and abacavir/zidovudine/lamivudine (Trizivir).

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are commonly used in combination with NRTIs to help keep the virus from multiplying. Examples of NNRTIs are efavirenz (Sustiva), nevirapine (Viramune), delavirdine (Rescriptor), etravirine (Intelence), rilpivirine (Edurant), and doravirine (Pifeltro).

Complete HIV treatment regimens that combine two NRTIs and one NNRTI in one pill taken once a day are available for convenience; these include Atripla (efavirenz/TDF/FTC), Complera (rilpivirine/TDF/FTC), Odefsey (rilpivirine/TAF/FTC), and doravirine/TDF/lamivudine (Delstrigo).

Protease inhibitors (PIs) interrupt virus replication at a later step in the HIV life cycle, preventing cells from producing new viruses. Currently, these include ritonavir (Norvir), darunavir (Prezista), and atazanavir (Reyataz). Using PIs with NRTIs reduces the chances that the virus will become resistant to medications. Atazanavir and darunavir are available in combination with cobicistat as atazanavir/cobicistat (Evotaz) and darunavir/cobicistat (Prezcobix). Cobicistat and ritonavir inhibit the breakdown of other drugs, so they are used as boosters to reduce the number of pills needed. A PI-based one-pill regimen is darunavir/cobicistat/TAF/FTC (Symtuza).

Older PIs no longer commonly used due to pill burden and side effects include lopinavir and ritonavir combination (Kaletra), saquinavir(Invirase), indinavir sulphate (Crixivan), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), tipranavir (Aptivus), and nelfinavir (Viracept).

Fusion and entry inhibitors are agents that keep HIV from entering human cells. Enfuvirtide (Fuzeon/T20) was the first drug in this group and was given in injectable form like insulin. Maraviroc (Selzentry) can be given by mouth and is used in combination with other ARTs.

Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (integrase inhibitors or integrases, INSTIs) stop HIV genes from becoming incorporated into the human cell’s DNA and are very well tolerated. Raltegravir (Isentress) was the first drug in this class. Elvitegravir is part of two fixed-dose combinations (elvitegravir/cobicistat/TDF/FTC, Stribild) and (elvitegravir/cobicistat/TAF/FTC, Genvoya) taken as one pill once daily. Dolutegravir (Tivicay) is also available in a once-daily combination pill with two NRTIs, abacavir and lamivudine, called Triumeq. The newest INSTI is available in a one-pill combination as Biktarvy (biktegravir/TAF/FTC).

An INSTI/NNRTI combination is available as Juluca (dolutegravir/rilpivirine) and can be used to replace a three-drug regimen after six months of successful suppression of HIV virus that has no resistance.

ART may have a variety of side effects depending on the type of drug. An expert in infectious diseases and HIV treatment should be consulted if the patient needs concomitant treatment for opportunistic infections, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Some medications used to treat these conditions will negatively interact with ART drugs.

Birth defects are associated with both efavirenz and dolutegravir. Both should be avoided for PEP or treating HIV-infected women of childbearing age who are not using effective birth control.


  1. Abstain from oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
  2. Have sex with a single partner who is known to be uninfected.
  3. Use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
  4. Do not inject street drugs.
  5. If you do inject drugs, never share your needles or works. Use only sterile needles.
  6. Use sterile water to fix drugs.
  7. Clean skin with a new alcohol swab before injecting.
  8. Be careful not to get someone else’s blood on your hands or your needle or works. ETC.

(10) Comments

  1. MissusB says:

    A lot of people with HIV is prone to TE condition.  TE can result from infection, poor health and even stress, which is why it is often associated with HIV. Good thing you’ve mentioned different medication for each stages of AIDS. It was very well explained and I gained essential understanding of it. 

    Medication has improved a lot since AIDS was discovered. Thanks to all the researchers, AIDS victims can still positively enjoy life. Even hair related problems such as alopecia, hair shredding, or anything associated with the virus can be resolved. Thank you for sharing all these useful information. I hope it can reach to as many people!

    1. admin says:

      thanks too for reading.

       The virus weakens a person’s ability to fight infections and cancer. It can take many years for people with the virus to develop AIDS. one can help prolong their life by taking good care of their self.

  2. Elaine Nicol says:

    Your post educates very well a lot of points about HIV and AIDS that are not common knowledge. Before reading your post I knew very little about HIV symptoms, as well as HIV and AIDS treatments, and how other medications can interact with these treatments. It is important that this knowledge is out there and was a very good idea as a topic for a blog. Please keep blogging I hope this blog succeeds very well. Thanks for sharing. ~ Elaine

    1. admin says:

      i’m happy that my page is helpful and interesting.. thanks for your comment

      Antiretroviral therapy treatment can greatly reduce your risk for getting these opportunistic infections by increasing your CD4 cells. Other infections can be prevented with medications.

  3. DorcasW says:

    Hi; while Hiv and Aids are responsible for many challenges of the body’s depreciating, one never stops to identify hair loss as one of the declining fractures associated with Hiv/Aids. Your post serves as an eyeopener to the fact. 

    My question though is there a known cause why women are the most victim worldwide of Hiv/ Aids? Another question, since Hiv/Aids begins with Chimpanzees how does it get to infest the human race?


    1. admin says:

      Of the 33.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 1999, 46% were women; 50%
      of the new 16,000 infections/day were female; half of the 12.7 million people who died of
      AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic were women; 52% of the 2.1 million adults who
      died from the disease in 1999 were women. In sub-Saharan Africa, women now account for 55%
      of those living with HIV/AIDS, and the ratio of female/male infections in younger age
      groups reaches 16:1 in some places.

      Women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS is greater than men’s because:

      Women are more susceptible to HIV infection on each sexual encounter because of the
      biological nature of the process and the vulnerability of the reproductive tract tissues
      to the virus, especially in young women. Men’s and women’s risks of acquiring
      HIV escalate in the presence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). STIs in women are
      less noticed and often go undiagnosed. The stigma of STIs in women also presents a barrier
      that discourages them from accessing adequate treatment.
      Cultural, social and economic pressures make women more likely to contract HIV infection
      than men. Women are often less able to negotiate for safer sex due to factors such as
      their lower status, economic dependence and fear of violence.
      There is a large difference in attitudes towards men’s and women’s sexuality
      before or outside marriage. Promiscuity in men is often condoned and sometimes encouraged,
      while it is usually frowned upon in women. One of the consequences of this gender
      difference is that men expose themselves to an increased risk of infection by having
      multiple partners, and in turn become the vector for transmission of HIV/AIDS to their
      partners, even if the women themselves are not behaving promiscuously.
      Young women and girls are increasingly being targeted for sex by older men seeking safe
      partners and also by those who erroneously believe that a man infected with HIV/AIDS will
      get rid of the disease by having sex with a virgin.
      Women and girls tend to bear the main burden of caring for sick family members, and
      often have less care and support when they themselves are infected.
      Women known to have HIV/AIDS are more likely to be rejected, expelled from the family
      home, denied treatment, care and basic human rights.
      There is also a strong gender difference in the age-related prevalence of HIV/AIDS, with
      the average age of infected women in Africa typically being several years lower than that
      for men. For example, 1998 data for Namibia shows that most of the women who tested
      positive for HIV were in their twenties, while most of the men were in their mid-to-late

  4. Georgio says:

    Thank you for this very informative post about HIV and its effect on human hair. I did not know about this syndrome before and how HIV affected the body through its three phases.
    I think people should keep paying visits to their doctors, and make sure they have good health because as you mentioned, HIV can hide in our bodies for years.
    It is important to keep a reminder that humans aren’t immune to everything and sometimes can face lethal viruses.
    Thank you again for this interesting topic 
    Keep up the amazing work!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks very much too for your reply.

      and more knowledgeable write-ups are still coming.

  5. Khobayer Khan says:

    Hello Anthony,

    Hair loss is a common problem nowadays. We all know due to stressful life, unhealthy food and busy lifestyle we all suffer from it. But in this article, we see how HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases have an effect on hair loss. HIV, which leads to AIDS can cause several damages to our body including hair loss. Medicines used to treat HIV cause hair loss. Not only that, HIV patients are susceptible to those factors that cause hair loss. Good thing is that, by taking proper medicine and care one can fight the negative effects of HIV on his hair.

    Thank you for sharing such a nice topic.

    1. admin says:

      thanks too for the comment!

      Fact sheets about HIV/AIDS treatment information is for the the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

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