4 Things You Need to Know about Bacillary Angiomatosis

Health & Medical Blog

There are a lot of different diseases that HIV-positive people are at risk of developing, including many skin diseases. One skin disease that you may develop is bacillary angiomatosis. Here are five things that you need to know about this disease.

What are the signs of bacillary angiomatosis?

This condition leads to lesions on your skin. The appearance of these lesions can vary widely, so diagnosis may be difficult. In some people, the lesions are smooth, red, and dome-shaped, while in other people, they are large with a lumpy, warty appearance. The lesions may also look like scaly, dry patches of skin. Some people only get one lesion, while others can have hundreds. To diagnose the condition, your dermatologist may need to take a sample of the bacteria from your lesions.

What causes it?

Bacillary angiomatosis is caused by Bartonella henselae, a type of bacteria. This bacteria is carried by cats; you may acquire bacteria if your cat scratches, licks, or bites you. In immunocompetent people this bacteria can lead to cat-scratch disease, but in immunocompromised people, it can lead to more serious conditions like bacillary angiomatosis.

Is it serious?

Bacillary angiomatosis is usually seen in people with advanced HIV infection and severe immunosuppression. Developing this condition is a warning sign that your HIV infection is not under control, so you may want to talk to your family doctor about adjusting your antiretroviral medications.

The lesions associated with this condition may also lead to disfigurement or scarring of your skin. Prompt treatment can help you avoid the cosmetic problems associated with the condition.

How do dermatologists treat it?

Your dermatologist may prescribe an antibiotic cream for you to apply to your lesions. Generally, dermatologists recommend using this cream for 2 to 3 months, but you may need to use it for a longer period of time. Once the lesions have cleared up, your dermatologist can provide treatments to reduce the scarring left behind by the lesions.

How common is bacillary angiomatosis?

It's still not known exactly how common bacillary angiomatosis is in the United States. It's been reported in every state, but no studies have been done to determine the prevalence rate.

The studies that have been done have determined that 90% of American patients are men. Researchers think that this is because men are overrepresented among the HIV-positive population.

If you are HIV-positive and notice lesions on your skin, you may have bacillary angiomatosis. Make an appointment with a dermatologist, like one from Southwest Dermatology Institute, to have your lesions evaluated.


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