Leukoplakia? Does it mean I have HIV?

Question

Dr. Dezube, My question is this: I have noticed whitish patches on the back of my throat (oropharynx)which are rather small and tend to blend in with the pink parts. In addition to this I have lately had 5 canker-like sores on the gums, and tongue, including 1 underneath the tongue. So could this be an HIV-related oral infection? Is the oropharynx normally one solid color or can it be "textured"? Another question is: since leukoplakia may be an early sign of HIV, how long would it normally take for one to develop it? I was tested at 6 weeks (-) and it is now two months from my last possible exposure. I plan to be tested in another month.

Answer

Leukoplakia (white plaques in the oral cavity) is actually associated with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection. Although it is commonly seen in HIV'ers, many folks with leukoplakia do NOT have HIV. I'm happy to hear that you'll be HIV-tested. Knowledge is power. You need to know.