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dry eyes/dry mouth = HIV?
Sep 11, 2001

Dr. Pavia,

I am at a loss. I have been having problems with dry eyes and dry mouth over the past 6 months. My tear production was measured and is 1/2 of what a normal person should produce. I also have a dry mouth which causes discomfort throughout the day and especially at night. I had a possible exposure 9 months ago, but tested negative via ELISA at 3 and 7 months. Can I be confident it is not HIV related? I guess what is frustrating is no explanation has been given as to why these problems are happening (my GP says these are minor problems and I shouldn't be too concerned, yet the symptoms seem to dictate otherwise). I don't want to be a worried well but it seems like dry eyes and dry mouth are commonly associated with HIV infection. Should I continue to test or simply search for another explanation? Do you think I need to seek the opinion of a ID Doc?

Response from Dr. Pavia

Dry eyes and decreased saliva production can be very annoying, can lead to eye irritation and damage, and can make it hard to eat. While these symptoms do occur in people with fairly advanced HIV disease, this would not change the interpretation of your negative HIV tests.

Dry eyes and dry mouth can be part of a complex called Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune process that can occur by itself or with other autoimmune processes like Lupus. If I were to get a second opinion, it would be from a rheumatologist.

There are products that can help. Talk to your doctor about using artificial saliva and artificial tears.

ATP



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