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Please help...
Jan 12, 2001

Hello Doc - and thanks for donating your time to such a noble cause. The information this page is invaluable. With that in mind - I have a question: After an encounter with a woman of unknown HIV status, I became obsessed with the possibility that I have HIV. I have taken tons of ELISA tests - 2, 3, 3.5, and 4 months post-possible exposure, and I also took a DNA/PCR at 4 months - all negative. What worries me is white stuff on the top surface of my tongue. It'll scrape off, and when it does, the scrapings look like the gunk leftover in your teeth after a meal. I brush my tongue and it goes away, but it comes back a few hours to a day later. Occasionally, I'll have a tingling or slight burning sensation on my tongue - but nothing severe. My PCP has looked at it (twice) - and has told me it is nothing to worry about - just plaque that I need to brush off regularly. Is he correct? Can Thrush present like this or could it just be a 'plaque' that I have always had- yet never noticed because I wasn't looking in my mouth every few hours? I am going out of my mind with worry over HIV - even after the DNA test which I was told was more than conclusive at 4 months. Please help...

Response from Dr. Reznik

Even though the CDC recommends testing out to 6 months following a potential exposure, I believe your negative results out to 4 months should alleviate most of your concerns.

Let me try and answer the rest of your question in a slightly different manner than I have answered before. First, there is not any documented, scientific research which would connect seroconversion to thrush. It is true that some do experience candidiasis during seroconversion, but not enough to say with any degree of certainty that this is a common occurrence. Second, your primary care provider has accurately described the "matter" on your tongue, which is more likely than not, coated tongue. He/she is also correct in suggesting that you brush your tongue regularly. I suggest to patients who present with coated tongue that they brush their tongue every time they brush their teeth, which should be at least twice a day.

Take care and be safe!


worried about my tongue

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