• Shingles causes pain, itching and blisters on the skin
  • The herpes zoster virus causes chickenpox among children and singles in adults
  • Shingles mainly occurs in the elderly and people with a weakened immune system
  • An untreated HIV infection reduces the immune system. Shingles can therefore be a manifestation of an HIV infection





Shingles causes pain, itching, blisters and spots on the skin. These spots or blisters usually occur on one side of the body. You may also experience tingling or a burning sensation of the skin. Shingles is not a serious disease, but it can cause long-term pain and discomfort. Shingles will go away on its own.


Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus. This virus causes chickenpox in children. Most people contract the virus at a young age. When the chickenpox is gone, the virus remains in your body. This virus does not cause any symptoms in people with a well-functioning immune system. In people with a weakened immune system, the virus can cause a new infection: Shingles. If you never had chickenpox as a child, the virus can cause chickenpox in adulthood instead of shingles. Adult chickenpox is not an HIV indicator disease.

Risk group

Shingles mainly occurs in the elderly and people with a weakened immune system. A reduced immune system can occur with the use of immunosuppressive medication (for example for rheumatism or organ transplants) and with an HIV infection.

Hiv and herpes zoster

In case of an HIV infection, the immune system is compromised. If the immune system is weakened, the herpes zoster virus present in the body can multiply and cause shingles. Shingles can therefore be a manifestation of an underlying HIV infection.
HIV indicator conditions are conditions or symptoms that occur more often in people with an underlying HIV infection than in people without an HIV infection. Herpes zoster is one of the HIV indicator conditions. If you have or have had Herpes zoster and have not been tested for HIV, it is advisable to ask your doctor or general practitioner for an HIV test. Find it difficult to ask for an HIV test? You may download a call card that will help you formulate your question.