Oral manifestations and HIV

Today is World AIDS Day and Ortiz-Vigón Clinic joins #prevencionVIH (#HIVprevention in English) campaign promoted by United Nations. There are a lot of factors that can influence on the virus prevention and as befits our work field, we would like to outline the access to healthcare as one of them. It should be noted some oral injuries can warn us of having possibilities to suffer from HIV infection, and as World Health Organization (WHO) explains “oral manifestations are among the earliest and most important indicators of infection with HIV”.

If we consider the numbers published by UN, 36.7 million of people all over the world lived with HIV and 2.1 million of people were infected (data from late 2015). On the other hand, and following Spanish Healthcare Ministry’s data, between 130,000 and 160,000 people live in Spain infected by HIV, who between 20% and 25% of them are not diagnosed.  These are high figures, and even it the best option is to visit a doctor, in Ortiz-Vigón Clinic we want to take advantage of these lines to speak about oral manifestations that could alert on a possible infection which are outlined by UN:

  1. Manifestaciones bucodentales VIHOral candidiasis: it can be either pseudomembranous or erythematous. The first one consists of white spots that generate mucosa; the second one leaves red patches usually in the roof of the mouth and tongue’s dorsal surface.
  2. Hairy leukoplakia: it usually appears on tongue’s both sides as whitish and wrinkled patches.
  3. Kaposi sarcoma: a type of cancerous tumor which presents blue and red colored injuries sometimes visible in the mucus membranes of mouth, gums, tongue, palate and throat.
  4. Linear gingival erythema: a condition marked by redness and swelling on gums’ edge next to teeth.
  5. Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis: painful pathology which destroys taste buds and causes bleedings.
  6. Necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis: an infection characterized by necrosis and decapitation od interdental buds which shows gingival hemorrhage and pain.
  7. Non-hodgkin lymphoma: another type of cancer in throat’s lymphatic nodes.

Some of the oral manifestations can be treated by your dentist such as oral warts, hairy leukoplakia, candidiasis or gingivitis, for example. According to entities like the American National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 1 out of 3 HIV affected suffer from oral diseases. In any case, you should not make a self-diagnostic or remedy the situation by yourself. Anyway, if you have a positive result on HIV detection remember to keep a diary hygiene because as we have said before, oral health reflects on overall health, and yet more when the situation is extraordinary.

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