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Editorial
August 1998

Ultraviolet Therapy and Patients With HIV Infection

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(8):1025-1026. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.8.1025

EVER SINCE it was shown that UV radiation activates the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in vitro,1,2 the possibility that UV therapies may affect the progression of HIV disease has attracted the attention of clinicians and laboratory scientists. Additional in vitro and animal studies conducted using HIV promoter/reporter gene constructs3 made it possible to determine types of UV exposure and dose ranges that have HIV-activating potential. Both basic dermatologic UV modalities, UV-B and psoralen–UV-A (PUVA), were found to activate HIV or its promoter. Analyses of the laboratory data suggest that during clinical exposures, HIV-activating UV-B doses can be delivered to the outer layers of the skin, but not to the blood.3 This conclusion finds support in a recent report by Simpson et al,4 who found that a single exposure to 100 to 300 J/m2 of UV-B radiation increased the HIV load 5- to 10-fold in biopsy specimens taken from psoriatic and other lesions.

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