Acute HIV skin rash

Originally Posted: 
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Tagged With: 

How long do these rashes last for and do they come and go? I had a rash on back of my neck/shoulders 3 weeks after a possible exposure that resembled folliculitis (maybe 6 papules in total), it lasted for a few weeks. After another few weeks it started again on my shoulders and chest which lasted for about 2 weeks also. Then about 2 weeks after I had another rash that was scattered over my torso, neck and arms that resembles folliculitis and lasted for about another 2 weeks. During these 4 months, I never suspected it being nothing more than my eczema that I had since I was a kid. My question is, is it possible for the Acute HIV skin rash to come and go within 4 months after possible exposure? I was tested at the 16 week mark for HIV and it came back negative. Should I go for a re-test taking into account the rash I've been experiencing?


Hello and thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information.

HIV cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms, and having a rash will not affect the results of your HIV test. There are no specific symptoms or time frame for the symptoms of an HIV infection; it is different for everyone. For example, some people never develop rashes at all as a result of an HIV infection. That being said, because many viral infection symptoms overlap, the only way to know for sure if your symptoms can be attributed to an HIV infection is to get tested (which you did!). Your negative test results at 16 weeks post exposure are conclusive as along as you have not had any high risk exposures recently. 

Since you are HIV negative I would advise you to speak with your doctor about other causes of your rash. 

In Health,

Elyse and Allison

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer


p: (Mon-Fri 9-4pm ): (604) 696-4666


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