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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Mouth and Tongue sores
May 22, 2003

I am a 44 year old HIV+ male who has been positive since 1993. I have been on Norvir/Saquninivir/AZT/Hivid combo since August 1996 and have been "undetectable" for virus for over six years now. My T-Cell count is in the 450-550 range consistently. I stopped smoking almost two years ago.

For the last year I have had mouth sores--almost crack like on the tongue and what looks like herpes or cold sores inside the cheek. They will go away for a few weeks, but always return. The sores are EXTREMELY painful and frustrating. I have had them checked by my internist at the University of Iowa HIV Clinic, as well as the Oto specialists at U of I. The lesions do not test for any sort of pathogen.

Anyone else have this problem or similar? Any resolutions?

Response from Dr. Henry

You desribe what sounds like aphtous ulcers which are common in the general population and more common in HIV. In the old days ddC was a common cause of that problem among HIV+ persons on that drug. The etiology is often unclear and can't be pinned down. A sub-set of patients seem to respond to zinc lozenges or supplements in my experience. Switching off the HIVID (ddC) would be a good option as well (try tenofovir or 3TC or abacavir instead for example). KH

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