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Bull World Health Organ. 2005 Sep;83(9):700-6. Epub 2005 Sep 30.

Oral lesions in infection with human immunodeficiency virus.

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Division of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits, South Africa.


This paper discusses the importance of oral lesions as indicators of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and as predictors of progression of HIV disease to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Oral manifestations are among the earliest and most important indicators of infection with HIV. Seven cardinal lesions, oral candidiasis, hairy leukoplakia, Kaposi sarcoma, linear gingival erythema, necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which are strongly associated with HIV infection, have been identified and internationally calibrated, and are seen in both developed and developing countries. They may provide a strong indication of HIV infection and be present in the majority of HIV-infected people. Antiretroviral therapy may affect the prevalence of HIV-related lesions. The presence of oral lesions can have a significant impact on health-related quality of life. Oral health is strongly associated with physical and mental health and there are significant increases in oral health needs in people with HIV infection, especially in children, and in adults particularly in relation to periodontal diseases. International collaboration is needed to ensure that oral aspects of HIV disease are taken into account in medical programmes and to integrate oral health care with the general care of the patient. It is important that all health care workers receive education and training on the relevance of oral health needs and the use of oral lesions as surrogate markers in HIV infection.

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