De novo HIV infection diagnoses in a Department of Dermatology and Venereology in Lisbon, Portugal

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Abstract

Background

Portugal has the highest prevalence rate of HIV infection in Western Europe. The proportion of patients with a late diagnosis, carried out in full-blown AIDS stage, remains high. Skin and mucous membrane manifestations are not rare in these patients.

Objective

A demographic, clinical, and laboratorial characterization of patients with de novo HIV infection diagnosis made in the Department of Dermatology and Venereology of a central hospital in Lisbon, Portugal.

Methods

Retrospective review of medical records of adult patients newly diagnosed with HIV infection (reactive immunoassay for antibodies to HIV-1/HIV-2 or HIV p24 antigen) in the Dermatology and Venereology Department of a Portuguese central hospital in the period between January 2005 and December 2013.

Results

During the study period, 97 new cases were diagnosed, 70 men and 27 women. The median age at diagnosis was 36 years. Of the total, 50 cases were diagnosed with a concomitant sexually transmitted infection (STI), more frequently syphilis and ano-genital HPV infection. The remaining 47 patients were diagnosed with other dermatological conditions such as prurigo nodularis, psoriasis, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. The duration of complaints that lead to medical attention ranged from <1 week to 8 years, being significantly lower in patients diagnosed with a concomitant STI (p < 0.01). Basal viral load was also lower in this group of patients (p < 0.05). Of all the new diagnosed cases, 80% of patients are currently retained in care.

Conclusion

This study grants a descriptive overview of de novo HIV infection diagnoses performed by dermatovenereologists in a central hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. As in the past, the importance of Dermato–Venereology for HIV infection diagnosis remains present in daily clinical practice.

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