HIV/AIDS patients offer unique oral health challenges

With the large number of existing and new cases of HIV infection worldwide, there is a parallel need for dental practitioners and other healthcare practitioners to carefully treat oral and periodontal conditions unique to HIV/AIDS, according to an article in Periodontology 2000 (October 2012, Vol. 60:1, pp. 78-97).

The oral and periodontal conditions most closely associated with HIV infection include oral candidiasis, oral hairy leukoplakia, Kaposi's sarcoma, salivary gland diseases, oral warts, linear gingival erythema, and necrotizing gingival and periodontal diseases, noted the authors, from the University of California, San Francisco.

While the incidence and prevalence of these oral lesions and conditions appear to be declining due in part to antiretroviral therapy, "dental and healthcare practitioners will need to continue to diagnose and treat the more conventional periodontal diseases in HIV-infected populations," they wrote.

Developing low-cost and accessible diagnostic and treatment approaches to periodontal diseases, particularly in developing countries, will require an internationally coordinated effort to design and conduct standardized clinical trials, the authors concluded.

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