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Dry mouth
Sep 25, 2011

Dear Dr. McGowan,

I hope you are having an enjoaybale weekend. I had an exposure with a woman of unknown status 8 weeks and 1 day ago (I am a male). I have experienced headaches and a little diarrhea along the way, but no classical symptoms such as fever or rash or swollen lymph nodes.

One week ago I developed a very dry mouth. Literally my tongue is a grayish-white and I am producing very little saliva. I have read that xerostomia can be a symptom of HIV.

In your clinical experience, how common is HIV-related xerostomia in early symptomatic HIV disease (8 weeks post exposure)?

Thanks,

Dry guy

Response from Dr. McGowan

Dear Dry guy,

Xerostomia as part of pharyngitis may be seen with acute HIV syndrome. These symptoms could occur in up to 50-70% of people with "acute retroviral syndrome". But (and here is the big but) the vast, vast majority of dry mouth and pharyngitis is NOT caused by acute HIV. There are many causes of these symptoms from stress, to gingivitis to other STDs (like gonorrhea nd chlamydia if you had oral sex). Since it has been 8 weeks most people who will become infected with HIV will have made antibodies by now, so you should have an HIV test done (and repeat at 3 months).

Best, Joe



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