Apr 12, 1999
Dear Dr. Reznik,
What percentage of your HIV patients appear with the overgrowth of papilae (i.e. coated tongue) Vs. your HIV negative patients? I was just curious, because I've never met anyone without HIV who ha this problem and in such a bad way as it never goes away no matter how often one brushes their tongue during the day.
Response from Dr. Reznik
I am unaware of any comparative trial which has measured the amount of hairy or coated tongue in those with or without HIV infection. I will say that this condition is common in those who have dry mouth, no matter what the underlying cause.
Coated or hairy tongue, which is an elongation of the filiform papillae of the tongue, does offer multiple surfaces where bacteria can grow. That is why it is very important to brush the surfaces of your tongue well.
This condition is not diagnostic of HIV as many people without HIV infection *do* present with this condition.
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