Question

Dear Dr. Reznik,

I'm writing to you from Germany. 3 years ago I developed a sore throat, I went to my doctor and he diagnosed me with pharyngitis. This went on for a few weeks; I had been prescribed with a medication. But it didn't help. I went to an other doctor (specialized in ear, nose and throat) and he diagnosed me with an infection of fungus just by looking into my throat, he didn't take a culture.

Since then I've never had any other problems. Also my herpes labialis and ulcers, from which I suffer since my youth has turned out better in the last few years.

Last week I saw a TV show where it was told that candidiasis can be a sign of HIV infection. I do not worry about my HIV status, because I've practised safer sex all the time.

But my question is what else can cause an infection of a fungus, or are there any other things that look similar to this kind of infection, especially pain while swallowing?

Regards

R.

P.S. This web site is great and offers a lot of help to people.

Answer

Dear R.

The TV show you saw is accurate as candidiasis or thrush can be a sign of HIV infection. There are numerous reasons why a person can develop candidiasis such as uncontrolled diabetes, use of systemic broad spectrum antibiotics or steroids or topical steroids. It is true that candidiasis or thrush may be indicative of HIV infection, but it is not diagnostic.

From what you have mentioned in this question, I am not convinced you had candidiasis as esophageal symptoms are usually the sign of a more serious condition. For instance, if you were HIV positive and developed esophageal candidiasis, you would now be defined as having AIDS. You may have had an ulcer which was supra-infected with either a fungal or bacterial organism or just a severe case of pharyngitis that did not respond to the initial course of antibiotics.

Take care and thank you for the kind comments regarding The Body's Forums!

DR