Mouth Problems & HIV

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Oral problems are very common in people with HIV. More than a third of people living with HIV have oral conditions that arise because of their weakened immune system. And even though combination antiretroviral therapy has made some oral problems less common, others are occurring more often with this type of treatment.
Mouth Problems
Mild cases – prescription antifungal lozenge or mouthwash; More severe cases – prescription antifungal pills.
Not Contagious
Sometimes Painful,
a Burning Feeling
White or yellowish patches (or can sometimes be red). If wiped away, there will be redness or bleeding underneath. They can appear anywhere in the mouth.
Candidiasis a fungal (yeast) infection – Also known as
Mild cases – not usually required; More severe cases – a prescription pill that may reduce severity of symptoms. In some severe cases, a pain reliever might also be required.
Usually Not Painful
White patches that do not wipe away; sometimes very thick and “hairlike.” Usually appear on the side of the tongue or sometimes inside the cheeks and lower lip.
Hairy Leukoplakia caused by the Epstein-Barr virus
Prescription pill can reduce healing time and frequency of outbreaks.
Sometimes Painful
Red sores usually on the roof of the mouth. They are sometimes on the outside of the lips, where they are called fever blisters.
Herpes A viral infection
Mild cases – Over-the-counter cream or prescription mouthwash that contains corticosteroids; More severe cases – corticosteroids in a pill form
Red sores that might also have a yellow-gray film on top. They are usually on the moveable parts of the mouth such as the tongue or inside of the cheeks and lips.
Aphthous ulcers. Also known as Canker Sores
Red Sores (ulcers)
White creamy or
bumpy patches like
cottage cheese
It could be:
What &
Mouth Problems & HIV
Inside the mouth – a doctor can remove them surgically or use “cryosurgery” – a way of freezing them off; On the lips – a prescription cream that will wear away the wart. Warts can return after treatment.
Possibly Contagious
Small, white, gray, or pinkish rough bumps that look like cauliflower. They can appear inside the lips and on other parts of the mouth.
White hairlike
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

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