Feb 16, 2001
Dr. Reznik, I am hoping that you can help me. My tongue has turned completely white. The very back of my tongue appears to have clumps of white stuff on it, while the front part of my tongue has turned white and has a kind of hairy look tht wont go away, no matter how much a brush or try to wipe it off. I was HIV negative at 3 months after my last possible exposure, and I am really scared that I have thrush is showing it so soon normal?
Response from Dr. Reznik
I have picked this question to answer as there are at least 20 others with the same question.
Plain and simple: a white tongue does not mean you have been infected with HIV.
coated tongue does not mean you have been infected with HIV
hairy tongue does not mean you have been infected with HIV
The vast majority of my patients have an AIDS diagnosis and do not present with a white tongue
On the other hand, if you have white patches, which are removable by gently scraping, on any of the soft tissues in the oral cavity, such as the buccal mucosa (inside of cheeks), floor of the mouth, hard and soft palates (roof of the mouth), gingiva (gums), etc it is quite possible you have thrush. Presenting with thrush does NOT mean you have HIV infection as there are several other potential causes of candidiasis (see previous answers to questions on thrush/candidiasis).
If you are have been unsuccessful with oral hygiene techniques, such as gently brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth, please see your dentist.
Geographic tongue and herpes
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