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Op-Ed

ARV and skin discoloration

After noticing skin discoloration since he started taking ARVs, a Filipino living with HIV asks if this should be a source of worry. Dr. Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon provides some information about this.

Dr. Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon – president of the AIDS Society of the Philippines and current Chief of Clinics of Sta. Ana Hospital – answers all your HIV-related inquiries. For all your questions, email josescon1@gmail.com or info@outragemag.com.

Dear Doc,

I noticed that since I started taking ARVs (Lamivudine-Zidovudine-Nevirapine combination) my skin has darkened. Is this normal, or should I worry about this?

Mr. Skin Conscious

Thank you for your question. Darkening of the skin is attributable to HIV disease, as a result of the decrease in immune responses. It is also common to see vitamin D deficiency among people living HIV. It is similarly common to see that when one is taking antiretrovirals (ARVs), skin discoloration or uneven skin tone/pigmentation happens.

In such cases, and to avoid further worries, this should monitored by a health provider so that, eventually, specific medical recommendations (such as micronutrient/vitamin supplementations, anti-oxidants) are prescribed, particularly if this proves to be troublesome to the person living with HIV and who are currently taking ARVs.

I suggest for you to consult with a specialist, and express your fears and worries so that appropriate medical referrals could be taken.

Fondly called Jojo, Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon is a medical doctor with specialization in obstetrics and gynecology. Spending much of his time in public health services with focus on HIV and AIDS, STI, and sexual and reproductive health, Jojo wears multiple hats, blending public health advocacy and clinical-cum-administrative work. For 12 years, he served as the Executive Director of Remedios AIDS Foundation, the pioneering AIDS service organization in the Philippines. Then in 2008, he assumed the presidency of the AIDS Society of the Philippines, which he still heads now. Jojo is also the current Chief of Clinics of Sta. Ana Hospital, and has held regional and local consultancy works for development agencies. Jojo is a self-confessed lacto-vegetarian, a raja yoga meditation practitioner, and a health/wellness buff. He also loves to share his thoughts and reflections based on learned skills/competencies and experiences. This soft-spoken soul loves taking on new initiatives/roles, and loves to talk with people about spirituality and good health.

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