AIDS symptoms in mouth

AIDS is the abbreviation of Acquired immune-deficiency syndrome which is caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In our article, we concern about AIDS symptoms in mouth.   

Manifestations of AIDS

Unfortunately, the manifestations of HIV don’t appear unless a very long period had passed after infection.

The initial manifestations are non-specific that may go unnoticed such as:

  • Fever and chills.
  • Night sweating.
  • Body aches.
  • Lymph nodes swelling.
  • General weakness.
  • Joints and muscles pains.
  • Oral ulcers.

Then the virus will replicate and cause its harmful effects on the immune system over years silently.

 Later on, the body will show manifestations of lowered immunity. This may take 8-10 years after gaining the HIV infection.

Although manifestations of AIDS are variable, most patients experience recurrent infections. Moreover, it’s common to have AIDS symptoms in mouth.

Other manifestations are:

  • Recurrent diarrhea.
  • Loss of weight and wasting syndrome.
  • Menstrual abnormalities.
  • Skin rash.
  • Fungal vaginal infection.
  • Dementia. That’s to say, gradual loss of memory.
  • Cancers such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • Manifestations of a viral infection such as cytomegalovirus and human papillomavirus.
  • Difficult swallowing.
  • Headache, fever, and sweating.
  • Sore throat and shortness of breath.

Aids symptoms in mouth

Mouth sores

They are one of the commonest oral symptoms of HIV because of the low level of immunity.

They cause difficult and painful chewing and swallowing, which furthermore will affect nutrition and body weight.

Causes of oral ulcers in AIDS patients

Oral candidiasis (Thrush)

It is due to a fungal infection which will lead to a white tongue. Oral candidiasis may cause red or yellow patches anywhere inside the oral cavity.

It can cause HIV dry mouth, loss of taste sensation. Moreover, difficult swallowing.

Aphthous ulcers (Canker sores)

They are painful red ulcers that appear on the inner side of the cheeks and at the junction between cheeks or lips and the gums.

Cold sores

They are secondary to herpes simplex infection.  They are painful red blisters at the mouth corners or lips. It can transmit the infection to others.

It may be associated with fever, weakness, body aches, burning sensation near the oral ulcers or even numbness sensation.

HIV dry mouth

It means the production of little saliva which is of prime importance to the health of teeth and gums. Thus, its deficient production will facilitate inflammation of the gum as well as teeth with resultant loss of teeth.

Dry mouth HIV may occur secondary to oral thrush or as a side effect of the AIDS medications.

It causes:

  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing.
  • Bad odor of the breath.
  • Hard speaking.
  • Tongue ulcers and inflammation.
  • Pain in the tongue.


They are irregular projections inside the mouth like a cauliflower. Warts appear secondary to viral infection by human papillomavirus (HPV).

It may refer to a high risk of developing cancer in the pharynx. In addition, the fluid from warts can infect others with HPV.

Hairy leukoplakia

It may be the first manifestation of AIDS. Hairy leukoplakia appears as irritating white lesions on the side of the tongue with a rough surface

Kaposi’s sarcoma

It affects the mouth as well as the nose and anus. It appears as swellings below mucosa or the skin with blue or purple color.

Management of HIV symptoms in mouth

It differs according to the cause, as follow:

Oral thrush (candidiasis): antifungal mouthwash and antifungal tablets.

Aphthous ulcers: mouthwashes, local anesthetic spray analgesics as well as corticosteroid tablets.

Cold sores: Antiviral cream and an analgesic, but it usually takes a prolonged time to heal.

Warts: surgical excision and a following topical treatment.

HIV dry mouth: Regular brushing of teeth, flossing as well as drinking enough amount of water. Moreover, saliva substitutes can be used.

Kaposi’s sarcoma: surgical treatment, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or antiretroviral medications.

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