about hs about hs


Patient portrayal

Managing HS
starts with
the condition1,2

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can be a debilitating, under-recognized condition that
can affect many aspects of a patient's life.3-5 But with proper education,
management strategies, and resources, you may be able to help prevent
irreversible skin damage.1,2 Awareness can support better outcomes for
patients, and you can support increased awareness for your peers.4,6
Help shine a light on HS.

What is hidradenitis suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa, commonly referred to as HS and also known as acne inversa, is a chronic, often progressive, systemic, inflammatory skin
condition that commonly manifests as subcutaneous nodules and abscesses in flexural sites, such as the groin or axillae.3,7 If left untreated,
HS may advance quickly.8,9 Timely intervention is needed to help prevent permanent damage.3

Hear from your peers about understanding HS



The healthcare providers featured in these videos were compensated for their time. These videos represent their opinions and do not represent the opinions of Novartis.

The facts about HS

HS is widely under-recognized. This can cause diagnostic delays that can facilitate disease progression and long-lasting negative effects on
a patient's quality of life.10-12 The shame and embarrassment that may be associated with HS can be made worse by misconceptions about
its causes, but these can be corrected with education about the condition. Knowing fact from fiction about HS can help get patients the
accurate diagnosis and treatment they promptly need.9,11

  • In the United States,
    1 in 100 people may have HS
    and many go

  • The average time to
    diagnosis is up to
    10 years4

  • 7 in 10
    have moderate or severe HS by the time they receive a diagnosis9

  • Patients may see up to
    10 Providers
    before receiving an

  • HS may lead to
    depression, anxiety,
    and loss of sexual

  • Patients can feel intense
    shame and

  • In one study, HS patients
    reported the lowest
    quality of life
    out of 35 skin disorders21

    • Hs is not

    • Contagious22
    • An infectious condition22
    • A result of poor hygiene22
    • A condition that only affects women, people with obesity, or people of African descent3,23
    • Hs is

    • A chronic, systemic, inflammatory condition3
    • A condition that can affect people of all genders, races, and ethnicities who are from all walks of life24,25
    • Treatable with early and effective intervention3,26,27


Many patients first present with symptoms to a primary care
physician or non-HS-treating dermatologist. Recognizing the
condition is the first step in getting patients the individualized care they need.2

Early recognition
and intervention are

An HS diagnosis requires a physical and historical assessment. There are 3 essential diagnostic criteria for distinguishing HS28


One or more painful,
nodules, abscesses, or


Lesions are most common on
sites, like the axillae,
groin, perineal
and perianal regions.
They are
less common on ears, face,
scalp, back, chest, or legs.


Recurrence at least twice within 6
months and/or persistence of at
least 3 months.

Ask your patients Have you had
of boils
during the
last 6 months, and if
where and how

If yes, it
could be HS
Up to ~90% sensitivity in

If you
recognize, refer

Management and treatment strategies for HS should be led by an HS-treating
dermatology provider.2

Find one now

suppurativa risk
factors and

Knowing some of the common risk factors and comorbidities associated with HS can help identify patients early on. Some risk factors
may also be comorbidities.31

RISK FACTORS3,4,7,11,14,31-33

  • Female gender3x increased risk
  • ObesityBMI ≥30 kg/m2
  • Family history~40% of patients with HS have a family history of the condition

    Evaluating family history could help increase the
    likelihood of a timely diagnosis

  • African descent~2.5x more common vs Caucasians
  • Active cigarette smoking Up to 9.4x higher risk
  • AgeOnset typically occurs in people aged 20+ years

    HS flares may be associated with hormonal changes (eg, puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause). It is important to evaluate each patient individually

BMI, body mass index.
Risk factors are not limited only to those listed.


  • ObesityPrevalence may be >75%
  • Joint spondyloarthropathies Prevalence: 3.7%
  • Squamous cell skin cancer Prevalence: 3% to 37%
  • Type 2 diabetes Prevalence: up to 30%
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome Prevalence: >3-fold risk
  • Substance-related disorder Prevalence: 4%
  • Metabolic syndrome Prevalence: 40%
  • Depression Prevalence: ~43%

*Comorbidities are not limited only to those listed. Prevalence is reported as prevalence of comorbidities in patients with HS based on different studies in the medical literature.
Range based on anatomic distribution.


Given the numerous
comorbidities associated with HS, management coordinated between a multidisciplinary care team should be based on the individual.2 Learn more >

women are 3x more likely than man

Help shine a light on HS
by sharing
on social
media today

Illuminate the facts about hidradenitis suppurativa

The following questions can serve as helpful reminders about HS. Swipe or click on the correct answers.

What generally characterizes HS disease progression?7

next arrow

Moderate to severe psoriasis located in intimate body areas

SO CLOSE. Keep going

next arrow

Recurrent, painful lesions often located in intimate body areas

CORRECT. Keep it up

next arrow

Recurrent joint pain accompanied by painful skin lesions

SO CLOSE. Keep going


Generally, who is most impacted by HS?7

next arrow

People with arthritis who are primarily Caucasian

SO CLOSE. Keep going

next arrow

Females, people of African descent, and those with a lower socioeconomic status

CORRECT. Keep it up

next arrow

Those who experience acute hair loss and joint pain

SO CLOSE. Keep going


On average, how long do people wait for an official HS diagnosis after first symptom onset?4

next arrow

A few months

SO CLOSE. See how you did

next arrow

About 10 years

CORRECT. Keep it up

next arrow

About 2 years

SO CLOSE. See how you did



You answered out of questions correctly.

Try again or learn more to help bring HS out of the shadows.


You answered out of questions correctly.

Clinical Deep Dive

Learn how to identify and diagnose HS early to
shed light on improved outcomes

Get Involved

Help raise awareness about HS today

References: 1. Chiricozzi A et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019;33(suppl 6):15-20. 2. Collier EK et al. Int J Dermatol. 2020;59(6):744-747. 3. Sabat R et al. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2020;6(1):18. 4. Garg A et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020;82(2):366-376. 5. Daxhelet M et al. Dermatology. 2020;236(5):431-438. 6. Alavi A et al. J Cutan Med Surg. 2017;21(6):513-524. 7. Alikhan A et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019;81(1):76-90. 8. van der Zee HH et al. Br J Dermatol. 2022;186(2):355-356. 9. Ingram JR et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2022;36(9):1597-1605. 10. Dufour DN. Postgrad Med J. 2014;90(1062):216-220. 11. Kimball AB et al, eds. Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Disease Primer. Adis; 2017. 12. Kokolakis G et al. Dermatology. 2020;236(5):421-430. 13. Revuz JE et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;59(4):596-601. 14. Deckers IE et al. Curr Derm Rep. 2014;3(1):54-60. 15. Micheletti RG. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2014;33(suppl 3):S48-S50. 16. Shah M et al. J Clin Cosmet Dermatol. 2020;4(2):1-4. 17. Loget J et al. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2018;145(5):331-338. 18. Machado MO et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2019;155(8):939-945. 19. Alavi A et al. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2018;4(2):74-79. 20. Tzellos T et al. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2020;10(1):63-71. 21. Balieva F et al. Br J Dermatol. 2017;176(5):1170-1178. 22. Ather S et al. Int Wound J. 2006;3(3):159-169. 23. Garg A et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(8):760-764. 24. Prens EP et al. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2020;21(4):579-590. 25. Zouboulis CC et al. Exp Dermatol. 2021;30(suppl 1):27-30. 26. Shih T et al. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2022;23(6):749-753. 27. Paek SY et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;76(4):772-773. 28. Revuz J. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2009;23(9):985-998. 29. Saunte DML et al. JAMA. 2017;318(20):2019-2032. 30. Vinding GR et al. Br J Dermatol. 2014;170(4):884-889. 31. Miller IM et al. Dermatol Clin. 2016;34(1):7-16. 32. Kohorst JJ et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;73(5 suppl 1):S27-S35. 33. Goldburg SR et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020;82(5):1045-1058. 34. Phan K et al. Ann Transl Med. 2020;8(13):821. 35. Vazquez BG et al. J Invest Dermatol. 2013;133(1):97-103.

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