oral healthPeople with HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS, are at increased risk of oral health problems. The most common oral issues for people with HIV include:

  •   Oral candidiasis or thrush
  •   Gingivitis
  •   Chronic dry mouth
  •   Ulcerative periodontitis
  •   Dental caries.

HIV causes the immune system to grow weaker, making it almost impossible for your body to fight infections.


  1. Red sores – Painful ulcers on moving parts of the mouth, such as the tongue and lips. The sores might be canker sores. Prescription mouthwash with corticosteroids can be used to treat mild cases of this condition.
  1. White bumpy patches – They resemble cottage cheese and can be a sign of oral thrush. The patches can appear anywhere inside the mouth, and wiping them might cause bleeding. Often painful, mild oral thrush can be treated with antifungal mouthwash.
  1. Warts – Bumps that can be pink, white, or gray. Although they are not usually painful, they are often contagious. Surgery might be needed to remove the warts. If on the lips, a prescription cream can be used to eliminate them.
  1. White hair-like growth – This can be a sign of the Epstein-Barr virus. It is not painful, and prescription pills can be used to manage the symptoms. If painful, a pain reliever might be necessary.


If you experience any adverse oral symptoms that refuse to go away, visit a dentist. A dentist will prescribe the proper medication to treat any dental problems that you are dealing with. It is essential that you visit the dentist every six months for examination. 


HIV is a manageable ailment. To remain healthy, you should see your doctor frequently. The doctor will track your progress and ensure that your treatment is working — current guidelines for HIV treatment state that you should visit your doctor every six months. 

Contact Washington Health Institute for care for your chronic infectious disease or for your primary care. If you have concerns with your oral health, talk to your doctor. With the proper care and management, we can help you live a long healthy life.