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Jul 17, 2000

Dear Dr. Reznik,

First before I ask my question I just want to tell you I think its really great how you take your time and answer all these questions. Anyway I am a 21 year old female who is in pretty good health, but to me my tongue looks weird! My tongue has little tiny strands of whitish hairs on it only on the top of my tongue, no where else. It has a little white coat on it, but not thick and it looks whiter in the morning. Does this sound like oral hairy leukoplakia? I been with my husband for 6 years and he is fine but neither of us had ever had an hiv test. I always go for regular check ups and have had all types of blood test taken for auto-immune disorders due to family history, epstein barr, and all other types of things. Every thing always comes out fine and the doctors say I am in the best health I can be in. My husband is the only person I've been with and I think my tongue was always like this but I'm not sure. If I did have hiv would anything in all the blood test I have taken show up weird, like with the white cell counts or something. I really don't have any other symptoms but body aches and that runs in my family. This whole tongue thing has me a little stressed out. Can you please tell me what you think it could be, I would really appreciate it!

P.S. Sorry about the length of this question.

hope to hear from you soon,


Response from Dr. Reznik

Dear DJ:

What you have described sounds very much like "hairy tongue". a condition that is nothing more than an elongation of the normal papillae which are on the dorsal (top) surface of your tongue. This is not considered a disease/infection, but rather normal in most individuals.

Even though you state you are in good health, you must have some concerns about your HIV status. My advice, which is sometimes easier said than done, would be to have an HIV test and put this issue to rest.

Take care!


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