Does HIV Cause Hair Loss? Uncovering The Potential Connection and Managing Hair Loss

Nishi Kashyap
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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Does HIV cause hair loss

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a viral infection that attacks our body’s immune system.

According to UNICEF data, the estimated number of individuals infected with HIV worldwide in 2021 was 38.4 million.

Some people with HIV have also experienced hair loss.

There may be a possible association between the two.

This article will answer all your doubts regarding HIV and hair loss.

You will gain a deeper understanding of the possible link and factors contributing to hair loss in people with HIV.

We will also provide specific natural remedies for getting back your beautiful hair.

HIV and hair loss

HIV weakens your immune system by destroying the cells that fight against the disease and infections.

Hair loss does not directly gets influenced by HIV.

Many other factors contribute to hair loss in HIV-affected people, such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, stress, or some side effects of medications.

However, a study published by The National Library of Medicine has shown that hair loss is linked with HIV.

According to the research, a 26-year-old man from China had Alopecia Areata, a hair loss condition.

The man sought a medical test and found that he had HIV.

This is a rare case where HIV may have caused hair loss due to problems with the immune system.

HIV and Telogen Effluvium

Finding out that you are HIV positive can result in mental and physical stress.

It is not easy to cope with this kind of infection, especially when there is no cure for HIV.

Patients with HIV may experience ongoing stress, causing Telogen Effluvium.

Telogen Effluvium is a condition where hair falls more than usual, leading to temporary loss of hair strands.

One study was conducted on ten patients with the last stage of HIV-1 infection to examine their hair and scalp.

The results showed that all patients had Telogen Effluvium.

That is why it is essential to remain calm and destress.

Try practicing deep breathing, exercising regularly, and seeking support from your friends and family.

HIV medications and hair loss

Woman experiencing hair loss due to HIV medicationSource: doucefleur_from_doucefleur's_images
Hair loss due to HIV medication

In the past, mostly HIV medications, such as Indinavir, Nelfinavir, and Nevirapine, cause hair loss.

Recent drugs used for the treatment of HIV generally do not cause loss of hair.

ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) is the new cure for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Sometimes, the medications you take to treat other HIV-related diseases, such as Acyclovir for genital herpes, can lead to the loss of hair strands.

People with HIV can live longer with the help of HIV treatments. 

Therefore, it is vital to start therapy as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, the advantages of taking the medicine outweigh the adverse side effects. 

Warning:
Anytime a patient experiences side effects from a medication, they should talk to their doctor about their concerns. A doctor may be able to recommend an alternative for the drug.

Other conditions that cause hair thinning with HIV

HIV- infected individuals usually have various deficiencies and conditions that can cause hair loss.

Listed below are some possible factors.

Iron deficiency

HIV-infected individuals have a risk of low iron levels, which can cause a low number of red blood cells in our body.

This condition is known as Anemia. It can cause severe fatigue, weakness, and hair loss.

Research shows that people who have HIV are more likely to have Anemia risk factors.

Sexually transmitted infections

People with HIV are more likely to develop sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

STI, Syphilis, in particular, is associated with patchy, moth-eaten hair loss.

The Scientific Journal of the Faculty of Medicine has published a report which shows hair loss in secondary Syphilis in HIV-positive persons.

According to the research, a 30-year-old homosexual man with diffuse hair loss on his scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes tested positive for Syphilis.

Later, the patient got tested for HIV. It was found out that the man was infected with the condition.

Fact
Treating HIV infection with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) can help improve Anemia in patients.

Malnutrition and HIV

Malnutrition is common among HIV-affected persons.

It can be due to a reduced appetite, which may result from certain medication side effects or depression.

HIV increases the metabolism and risk of nutritional deficiencies, which may contribute to hair loss.

A lack of vitamins like B12, biotin, zinc, and vitamin D3 can primarily cause the loss of hair.

Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet that includes plenty of green vegetables and fruits.

Recommended Reading
Diet plays an essential role in the hair growth process. Visit our article A Complete Guide to Vitamins for Hair Loss and Hair Health for more information.

Some natural ways to cure hair loss

Natural hair loss treatmentsSource: Ausra_Barysiene_vaizdai
Natural remedies for hair loss

There are many natural ways to treat hair loss

These natural cures usually do not have any side effects and have long-term advantages.

Still, checking with a doctor before opting for any solution is recommended.

We have listed down a few methods by which you can manage your hair loss.

Aloe vera

People have recognized the beneficial effects of aloe vera on hair health for centuries.

The anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera gel stimulate the cell’s immunity.

It also has many active ingredients and minerals which can help strengthen your hair roots.

You can apply the gel directly to your scalp to promote hair growth.

Massage

Massaging your scalp is another natural way to enhance hair growth.

Scalp massage promotes hair thickness by stretching the cells within the hair follicles.

A study shows that scalp massage has been effective in patients with Androgenic Alopecia, which is a condition that causes hair loss.

Onion juice

Onion is a common ingredient found in almost every house. It has numerous benefits for hair.

According to a study published in the Journal of Drug Delivery and Therapeutics, onion extract can promote hair growth.

Another research shows that onion juice is helpful in hair regrowth in patients with Alopecia.

Rosemary oil

Traditionally, rosemary oil is used to promote hair growth.

It enhances blood circulation when applied to the scalp.

You can gain the benefits of rosemary oil by massaging the scalp gently with it in circular motions.

Coconut oil

The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil can help you remove the itching and redness caused by fungal infections.

It helps in soothing the scalp and prevents irritation and dandruff.

For healthy hair, you can apply coconut oil with other natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil and honey.

Conclusion

Hair loss can be caused by HIV infection, but it is not directly affected by it.

Genetics, hormonal imbalances, stress, and medication side effects play a role in hair loss in HIV-affected individuals.

Telogen Effluvium, a condition where hair falls more than usual, can occur due to the stress of living with HIV.

Natural remedies like aloe vera, scalp massage, onion juice, rosemary oil, and coconut oil can help promote hair growth and improve scalp health.

Maintaining a healthy diet and seeking medical advice for managing hair loss in HIV-affected individuals is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does HIV cause hair loss?

Hair loss is not a direct result of HIV infection. Some HIV-related factors, such as being ill for a long time, feeling stressed, not getting enough nutrients, or using specific medications, might cause hair to fall out.

What are the biggest signs of HIV?

The symptoms which people may experience are acute HIV infection, such as fever, sore throat, fatigue, muscle ache or may feel rapid weight loss, Pneumonia, and Diarrhea last for more than a few weeks.

How does HIV affect the scalp?

People with HIV are more prone to various infections that can affect the scalp, such as fungal infections, viral infections like herpes, and inflammation. They can lead to hair breakage and scalp itching.

Which lack of vitamins causes hair fall?

Certain vitamin deficiencies are associated with hair loss. It includes vitamin B12, biotin, zinc, and iron deficiency. It is vital to consume a well-balanced diet for healthy hair and body.

Citations:
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