AIDS and Scalp Sores

Because AIDS affects the immune system, many people with the disease are prone to skin conditions that cause scalp sores. If you are HIV-positive, take special care to avoid preventable skin conditions, such as ringworm and impetigo [source: American Academy of Dermatology].

What Causes Scalp Sores

Scalp sores are a symptom of many skin conditions. Your doctor will need to examine the sores in order to determine what their cause might be.

  • Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, and it's a common cause of scalp sores. You can recognize it by round patches on your scalp that may be red and swollen. Sometimes these are also accompanied by smaller black dots or a loss of hair in affected areas [source: Berman].
  • Pemphigus, on the other hand, is a disease of the immune system. The condition causes the immune system to attack healthy cells, which results in itchy sores on the scalp and face. Pemphigus is an uncommon condition, but has the potential to be dangerous, uncomfortable and unsightly, so you should see a dermatologist for treatment [source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases].
  • Psoriasis is another disease of the immune system that can cause scalp sores. Cell turnover is faster than it should be for people with psoriasis. Normally, cell turnover takes about a month, but psoriasis causes this to happen in as little as a few days. Because the skin cells are not mature yet, they pile on top of one another and form itchy sores [source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases].
  • Impetigo is a bacterial infection that causes scalp sores. The bacteria that lead to impetigo enter the skin through cuts; if you've cut your scalp, be sure to wash the cut with an antibacterial soap [source: MedlinePlus].

Since scalp sores can arise from such a variety of conditions, treatment for scalp sores depends on the cause. For more information about how to treat scalp sores, read on.