Hair Loss in HIV/AIDS Patients: Treating the Triple Threat
by Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams
Any time your body experiences extreme stress, your hair changes.
HIV/AIDS patients face a triple-threat. The high risk of infection, the impact of medications and accelerated aging can increase stress and ultimately cause hair loss.
The best weapon in the fight against hair loss is information and preparation.
Hair is an “accessory organ.” The body does not need it to survive. In HIV/AIDS patients the body fights daily to defend vital organs like your heart, lungs, and liver. Naturally, it may not have much energy left to help protect your hair.
When bacteria and fungal infections attack the scalp and deprive hair follicles of much needed nutrients, the effects are largely visible and reminiscent of more common hair loss disorders that come with age. Even medications meant to ease other symptoms and attack the virus can lead to dry, brittle, and weaker strands.
Hair loss can resemble androgenic alopecia – male patterned hair loss – or alopecia areata – irregular bald spots.
To help slow this process and/or repair it, HIV/AIDS patients should practice the following:
- Avoid dying, perming, or straightening your hair
- Try to reduce stress whenever possible to prevent accelerated aging
Check with your doctor to determine if your hair loss can be treated with medications like Minoxidil (Rogaine) or Finasteride (Propecia).
Contracting HIV/AIDS is complicated; as you manage internal changes the external side effects can be emotionally charged as well.
Practice safe sex and get tested, regularly. Choose to be healthy and let’s eradicate this disease from our community one person at a time.