Background: Pruritic papular eruption (PPE) is a chronic dermatosis frequently seen in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients. UVB phototherapy has been successfully used to treat a similar inflammatory condition (Ofuji disease) as well as pruritus of systemic origin. Objective: We describe the successful treatment with UVB of seven of eight patients with PPE. Methods: Eight HIV-positive patients with PPE were treated. The number of papules in a specified area of skin and the intensity of pruritus were monitored before, during, and after UVB phototherapy given three times a week. Biopsy specimens were taken before and after therapy and systemic immune function was evaluated. Results: Both the number of papules as well as pruritus decreased after UVB treatment in all but one patient. Immunoperoxidase staining showed a relative decrease in CD4+, CD8+, and CD2+ cells in all samples studied except for the patient noted to be unresponsive to the therapy. Conclusion: UVB phototherapy is effective in the treatment of patients with PPE. This is associated with a significant decrease in inflammation and number of T cells from various subsets within the dermis, thereby implicating these cells in the pathogenesis of this disorder.
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