The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic has had a major impact on all of medicine, dermatology notwithstanding. Obscure diseases that were largely of academic interest only a few years ago are now seen commonly in patients with this condition. Furthermore, in the individual infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), common diseases may have such unusual manifestations that clinical diagnostic skills may be of little value. The clinical dermatologist must increasingly rely on the information provided by skin biopsies and cultures. Because of this, the dermatopathologist often plays a vital role in the care of these patients. It is, therefore, important to understand in what ways the dermatopathologist contributes expertise in this setting so that clinicians can use that expertise to the greatest advantage.
The major services the dermatopathologist provides include detection of opportunistic infections, diagnosis of noninfectious inflammatory and neoplastic diseases, and diagnosis of AIDS, as well as recognition of
Cockerell CJ. The Dermatopathologist and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection. Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(11):1565-1567. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670230107021