For decades, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) has been characterized as a rare disorder, but recent evidence from the medical dermatology literature suggests that between 0.4% and 4% of the population is affected, with a predominance in female and black individuals.

At the annual meeting of the Pacific Dermatologic Association, Haley Naik, MD, characterized those estimates as “astounding.” There is also diagnostic delay that ranges from 5 to 14 years in Western populations, said Dr. Naik, of the department of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco (Br J Dermatol. 2015 Dec;173[6]:1546-9). “These patients are repeatedly interacting with the health care system and they’re not getting the correct diagnosis and therefore they’re not getting effective therapy for the management of their disease,” she said. “We can begin to tackle this problem by educating ourselves and our colleagues about the best ways to diagnose these patients.”

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