Thrush doesn't mean you have HIV!

Question

Hi dr.Bob

This is more of a comment than a question but i figured i would post it anyway.

Im a medical student and I have always been quite scared, but at the same time interrested in HIV and its biology.

A few months ago I had some very unspecific "hiv symtpoms" like seborrheic dermatitis and athletes's foot. I wasn't very worried, but that was before i found a sore in my mouth and suscpected it was oral thrush. I went straight to an ENT specialist at the hospital where I'm studying and it was indeed thrush (culture confirmed that).

How could this happen to an otherwise healthy person?? I started reading litterature about thrush and found it very unlikely it would occur in an otherwise healthy person and figured it had to be hiv. I remember a microbiologist at some health forum saying oral thrush is extremely rare in healthy individuals and that you should think hiv immidiately if a patient experiences thrush.

I totally freaked out and started imagining lots of other symptoms such as muscle wasting. I almost instantly developed a cough and then constant diarrhoea. Making a long story short, i nearly made life unliveable for my girlfriend and everyone around me, until i manged to get an hiv test, which was negative.

I have no idea why i developed thrush, but at least i would like to share with everyone that it can occur without immune deficiency (not that you don't know that).

By the way, during my panick period i read alot about hiv on this page and if hiv will be a topic in my upcoming exams, im quite confident i will pass, thanks to you!

Thank you for all the information you provided here, it definitely helped me during my "hiv-panic"!

Answer

Hi,

You are absolutely correct: "thrush doesn't mean you have HIV"! In fact the vast majority of cases of thrush have absolutely nothing to do with HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Bob