It was one of those studies to which positive people respond, “What else is new?” Recent research published in the Journal of AIDS shows that approximately half of HIV-positive people suffer from dry skin—far more than their negative peers (5.7 times more for men, 2.2 for women).
The study didn’t identify causes, though CD4 counts below 200 and use of the protease inhibitor Crixivan (indinavir) were mentioned (other PIs may also tend to dry skin). The researchers didn’t offer skin-soothing strategies, either. So we will:
- Discuss dry skin with your doctor. There may be therapies for your particular version of the ailment.
- Don’t use just any lotion. Pick one with lactic acid or lactic acid plus urea. Or try a moisturizer-emollient combo, such as the Body Shop’s Shea Body Butter ($10 and $20 sizes, thebodyshop.com).
- Apply lotion while you’re still damp from your bath, to capture the moisture.
- Invest in a home humidifier to prevent dry air from parching your skin.
- For itching, try Eucerin Calming Creme and Calming Itch-Relief with oatmeal and menthol (about $8, EucerinUS.com). And apply a cool compress—never your nails. Mom was right: Scratching only makes it worse.