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Does herpes zoster result from HIV infection?

Q: My 27 years old friend has developed small rashes on the left side of the chest. He went to a dermatologist who diagnosed it as herpes zoster and it healed within a week. The doctor advised him get an HIV test done. My friend was shocked as he has never been sexually active, neither did he ever receive a blood transfusion. My friend then got Elisa HIV 1/2 test done fifteen days after developing the rash and the result was negative. Again after three months, he did Western Blot, ELISA- and the result was Sero Negative for HIV ½ . Then the doctor advised HIV RNA PCR and my friend also got this test done after four months of developing the skin rash. The result was again negative. Are these tests sufficient to declare that my friend is not infected with HIV? Why did my friend develop herpes zoster? Does herpes zoster result from HIV infection?

A:Herpes Zoster can occur in any individual who in the past has been exposed to chicken pox virus. This infection could have been clinical or subclinical. Therefore every case of herpes zoster can in no way be labeled as a case of AIDS or having HIV infection. The latter should be suspected only if the infection has been very severe and was difficult to treat. In most cases of HIV infection, sero-conversion occurs within 3 months of exposure; in an occasional unusual case it may take more than 6 months. Therefore, further testing is required only if clinical condition warrants.

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