Chronic pruritus in HIV-positive patients in the southeastern United States: Its prevalence and effect on quality of life

Shivani B. Kaushik, Felipe B. Cerci, Jill Miracle, Achyut Pokharel, Suephy C. Chen, Yiong Huak Chan, Aimee Wilkin, Gil Yosipovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Prevalence of chronic pruritus in HIV-positive patients is an underevaluated topic in the United States. The characteristics, severity, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with HIV and chronic pruritus have not been well documented using validated tools. Objectives: We sought to assess the prevalence and intensity of chronic pruritus and its effect on QOL in HIV-positive patients in a US population. Methods: HIV-positive patients (n = 201) were asked to complete a sociodemographic data form and 2 itch questionnaires. Patients with itching rated their itch intensity on a numeric visual analog scale. Laboratory parameters were obtained from patients' medical records. Results: The prevalence of chronic itch in the study group was 45% with an average visual analog scale score of 5.93 during an itch episode. Patients with high visual analog scale score had significantly decreased QOL. Patients with HIV reported greater negative impact of pruritus on daily lives. Limitations: Because of the cross-sectional design, this study demonstrates an association between HIV and pruritus but cannot prove causation. Conclusion: Patients with HIV surveyed in a large clinic in the southeastern United States have a high prevalence of pruritus; HIV pruritus has a significant effect on QOL and itch is the most common skin manifestation found in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-664
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • chronic pruritus
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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