Oral manifestations of an HIV positive cohort in the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in South London
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BACKGROUND: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is associated with oral manifestations of diagnostic and prognostic importance. With the advent of Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART) there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the prevalence of oral lesions has declined. The number of prevalence studies, carried out in the era of HAART is, however, meagre. Our aim was to study the prevalence of the oral manifestations of HIV in a population, predominantly on HAART, attending a Genito-Urinary Medicine Centre in South London. METHODS: This cross sectional study included 203 adult volunteers, comprising 76% males and 24% females. One third of the subjects were from the predominantly African or Afro- Caribbean ethnic minority groups resident in London. The relationship between the prevalence of oral lesions and demographic variables, therapeutic regimes, viral load and CD4 counts were evaluated. RESULTS: One hundred (49%) of the patients had no detectable oral lesions. Oral lesions detected most frequently included oral hairy leukoplakia (9.9%), HIV associated periodontal diseases (9.9%) and oral candidiasis (4.9%). Three subjects had multiple papillomatous growths. Most cases (n = 17/20) of oral hairy leukoplakia were in individuals with a detectable (> 400 copies/ml) plasma RNA viral load. The majority (n = 8/10) of our patients with oral candidiasis had a plasma RNA viral load > 10,000 copies/ml and half (n = 5/10) had a CD4 count < 200 cells/mm3. Logistic regression analysis suggested that the presence of an oral lesion was not associated with any demographic features except for periodontal diseases which were associated with tobacco smoking (P = 0.023). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of so called 'strongly associated' oral lesions of HIV is low in this South London HIV-infected population on HAART, and the relative frequency is different from that cited in the literature from the pre-HAART era. The oral lesions detected were found mostly in people with low CD4 counts and high HIV-1 RNA viral loads, suggesting they were very immunocompromised, not on, or declining therapy, or that their therapy was failing.
Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine