Skip to content

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

AIDS Dysmorphic Syndrome

It is possible that the main title of the report AIDS Dysmorphic Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Dysmorphic Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • Dysmorphic AIDS
  • Fetal Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Fetal AIDS Infection
  • Fetal Effects of AIDS
  • HIV Embryopathy
  • Perinatal AIDS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

The term "AIDS dysmorphic syndrome" or "HIV embryopathy" has been used by some researchers to describe specific facial malformations (i.e., craniofacial dysmorphism), an unusually small head, and growth deficiency in some infants infected with HIV.* Such craniofacial abnormalities have included a prominent, boxlike forehead, large, wide eyes; a flattened nasal bridge, and an unusually pronounced philtrum, which is the vertical groove in the center of the upper lip.

However, many investigators have since questioned the significance of these observations. Such researchers indicate that there is lack of evidence for characteristic craniofacial malformations in infants who acquired HIV infection from their mother before, during, or shortly after birth (i.e., perinatally).

*HIV is the abbreviation for the human immunodeficiency virus, a retrovirus that infects certain white blood cells called helper T cells (CD4+ cells). HIV infection leads to progressive deterioration of the body's immune system and causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).


The Arc
1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202)534-3700
Fax: (202)534-3731
Tel: (800)433-5255
TDD: (817)277-0553

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
120 Wall Street
13th Floor
New York, NY 10005-3908
Tel: (212)806-1600
Fax: (212)806-1601
Tel: (800)392-6327

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636
TDD: (888)232-6348

PO Box 69491
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Tel: (213)845-4193

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Office of Communications and Government Relations
6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612
Bethesda, MD 20892-6612
Tel: (301)496-5717
Fax: (301)402-3573
Tel: (866)284-4107
TDD: (800)877-8339

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy
University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773)702-5659
Fax: (773)702-5577

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Copyright 1988, 1989, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2009 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
HIV AIDS Screening
man opening condom wrapper
HIV AIDS Treatment
Discrimination Stigma
Treatment Side Effects
grilled chicken and vegetables
obese man standing on scale
cold sore