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Oral Health and HIVOral Health and HIV
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Sep 13, 1999

what does oral thrush look like?

Response from Dr. Reznik

There are three predominant types of candidiasis:

Erythematous candidiasis:

This is a red flat lesion that may appear anywhere in the oral cavity but the majority of time presents on the dorsal surface of the tongue and/or the roof of the mouth. This lesion, probably the most underdiagnosed oral disease seen in people living with HIV- infection, tends to be symptomatic with the chief complaint being burning, usually associated with eating salty or spicy foods. Resembles pizza burn and traumatic lesions of the hard and soft palate.

Pseudomembranous candidiasis:

This is the lesion most often called "thrush." It appears as white patches that can present anywhere in the mouth. These patches or plaques can be wiped away leaving a red and sometimes bleeding surface.

Angular Cheilitis:

Angular cheilitis, of itself is not diagnostic of HIV infection as is the cae with all forms of candidiasis appears as cracks or fissures radiating from the corners of the mouth which may or may not be accompanied by intraoral "thrush"

For pictures of candidiasis, please visit the HIVdent Photo Gallery which can be found at the following URL: (to access these pictures, either "click" on the enclosed URL or type this information into the address line of your internet browser)


Question about Thrush

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