Oral manifestations of HIV refer to the various symptoms and conditions that can affect the mouth and oral cavity in individuals living with HIV/AIDS. These manifestations can occur at any stage of the disease and can be indicative of the progression of the infection. Some common oral manifestations of HIV include:
1. Oral Candidiasis (Thrush): This is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. It appears as creamy white patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, and throat. It can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty swallowing.
2. Oral Hairy Leukoplakia: This condition is characterized by white, raised, and hairy-looking patches on the sides of the tongue. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and is often an early sign of HIV infection.
3. Oral Ulcers: Painful ulcers or sores can develop on the tongue, gums, or inside the cheeks. These ulcers can be caused by various factors, including viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, or as a result of a weakened immune system.
4. Kaposi's Sarcoma: This is a type of cancer that can affect the mouth and other parts of the body. In the mouth, it appears as red or purple lesions or tumors on the gums, palate, or tongue.
5. Periodontal Disease: HIV infection can lead to gum disease, causing inflammation, bleeding gums, and eventually tooth loss. This is due to the weakened immune system, making it easier for bacteria to cause infection.
6. Salivary Gland Enlargement: HIV can cause the salivary glands to become swollen, leading to dry mouth and difficulty in swallowing.
7. Warts: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can cause the development of warts in the mouth, including on the lips, tongue, or inside the cheeks.
It is important to note that these oral manifestations can also occur in individuals without HIV infection. However, their presence in someone with HIV/AIDS may indicate a weakened immune system and the need for appropriate medical care and management.