HIV weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infections, such as oral thrush. Over 90% of people with HIV may develop oral thrush at some point.
Candida is a yeast occurring in the body. In
This article looks at the connection between oral thrush and HIV.
Candida, the yeast that causes oral thrush, occurs throughout the body and thrives in moist environments such as the mouth.
Usually, the immune system will prevent Candida from multiplying and growing out of control. So in
HIV weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infections. This can result in excessive Candida growth, which can cause oral thrush in the mouth.
Does having oral thrush always mean HIV?
According to the
Other conditions that weaken the immune system may cause oral thrush,
Dentures and antibiotic use may also result in oral thrush. A change in the normal balance of microbes within the body
Although an overgrowth of the yeast Candida causes oral thrush, some factors can
There are steps people with HIV can take to
Fluconazole is the only effective antimycotic for preventing oral thrush in people with HIV. People take fluconazole orally as a tablet, so it affects the whole body. It may cause side effects such as:
Practicing good oral hygiene may also help, including:
- using a soft toothbrush
- cleaning between the teeth, such as with floss
- using an antiseptic mouthwash
- attending routine dentist check-ups
- if wearing dentures, cleaning them regularly and ensuring that they fit correctly
- drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day to help prevent dry mouth
According to the
The most common oral health issues that may affect people with HIV include:
- chronic dry mouth
- gingivitis, which is gum disease
- periodontitis, which is a loss of bone around the teeth
- canker sores, which are small sores inside the mouth
- oral warts
- fever blisters, or cold sores, which form around the lips
- tooth decay
- hairy leukoplakia, which is a white, rough patch on the tongue
Combination antiretroviral treatment helps support the immune system in people with HIV and may reduce the likelihood of developing certain mouth conditions.
People can contact a doctor or dentist for effective treatments for mouth problems.
This section answers some frequently asked questions about oral thrush and HIV.
Can you have oral thrush and be HIV negative?
Although oral thrush is
The study found that factors such as age, oral hygiene, sexual behaviors, and lifestyle may play a role in the development of oral thrush, either with or without HIV present.
If people test negative for HIV, it
It is important that people get another test after the window period to confirm a negative result.
What does oral thrush look like with HIV?
Oral thrush may affect the mouth, throat, and esophagus in people with HIV. Oral thrush in the esophagus, the tube connecting the throat and stomach, is one of the
Symptoms of oral thrush in the mouth, throat, and esophagus may include:
- white patches in the mouth, which may appear on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, and throat
- soreness or redness in the mouth
- dryness or cotton-like sensation in the mouth
- pain or difficulty eating or swallowing
- loss of taste
- cracked corners of the mouth
How soon after HIV do you get oral thrush?
According to a
People may develop oral thrush if their levels of CD4 T lymphocytes (CD4 cells) drop to 350 colony-forming units per milliliter (CFU/mL). A CD4 cell count of 200 CFU/mL or less may cause oral thrush to affect the esophagus.
CD4 cells are a type of immune cell, which HIV destroys to weaken the immune system.