Hypertension Or Gum Disease A Symptom?


Questions:

At what stage would hypertension be considered an indicator of infection? Also how about gum disease? Thanks.


Mr. Sowadsky's Response:

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Neither hypertension (high blood pressure) nor gum disease, indicate a person may have HIV. The vast majority of people with hypertension and gum disease do not have HIV. These are separate diseases. However, in persons with AIDS, gum disease may be more serious and harder to treat. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or gum disease, there is no need to get tested for HIV (based on having these diseases alone). They are separate illnesses.

Hypertension is a serious (and potentially life threatening) medical problem, regardless of whether a person has HIV or not. A person can have hypertension and have no symptoms at all. This is why it's important that all people get their blood pressure checked from time to time. There are now medications that can treat hypertension. Remember, having hypertension does NOT indicate HIV infection.

Gum disease is extremely common. The most common symptoms of gum disease are bleeding gums (especially when you are brushing your teeth), and redness and irritation of the gums. Only a dentist can diagnose and treat gum disease.

Remember that if a person has gum disease, and they are giving oral sex to someone who has HIV, their risk of infection increases. This is because having gum disease would make it easier for HIV to enter the bloodstream, while giving oral sex. Having gum disease does not indicate HIV infection.

But having gum disease would increase your risk of infection, if you were giving an infected person oral sex. For more information about the risks of oral sex, see the question, "Oral Sex", and related questions.


Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS