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hi dave i need your advice
May 17, 1999

hi, i am a 22 year old female witha history of smoking since i was 14, about 1 pack a day at least. I had a possible exposure well over sa year ago and just recently gort the call from my doctor stating i was indeed negative for hiv. WELL, my problem isa this: i have been reading that OHL lesions are strongly associated with hiv and i am very scared. I have what looks to be a lesion on the back of my tongue it is white and nonremovable and looks furry , it is about the size of a eraser and flat. I want desperately to find out if this s=could be form smoking or if it a hiv symptom only. Do i need to continue testing for this symptom only? See, i read that OHL usually appears on the sides of the tongue and that isnt the way this is presenting and i have shown doctors and they say nothing about it.It isnt anything that brushes off and it is not an irritant but i need to know if this warrants testing beyond a year in tis case? Please help me dave, i am really scared and really PREGNANT at this time too.

Response from Dr. Reznik

The best way to alleviate any concerns regarding the presentation you describe, would be to visit your local oral surgeon or oral pathologist and let them have a look. If they are the least bit concerned, I am quite sure that they will suggest a biopsy. As awful as this sounds, these biopsies are very small and usually do not cause much discomfort.

Even if you receive a diagnosis of oral hairy leukoplakia, it is important to realize that this is *not* diagnostic of HIV infection. Remember that there are not any oral manifestations of HIV that are solely associated with HIV.

To answer another part of your question: yes it is possible that what you are experiencing is due, in part, to smoking.

I hope this information proves helpful.


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