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HIV/AIDS, Oral health, Oral lesions



  1. Gennaro, Susan DSN, RN, FAAN
  2. Naidoo, Sudeshi PhD, DDPH
  3. Berthold, Peter PhD, LDS, DMD


Oral lesions are common in women and children with HIV/AIDS and may decrease the overall quality of life in these patients because of pain, dry mouth, and difficulty in eating. An oral cavity screening is an easy, noninvasive, quick, and inexpensive procedure that provides nurses with invaluable information about the need for referral, treatment, and health education. Nurses can use the information obtained from a careful oral screening to decrease the symptoms experienced with oral lesions and optimize a patient's ability to chew and enjoy food. Common oral manifestations of HIV infection include fungal, viral, and bacterial infections, although neoplasms, periodontal disease, salivary gland disease, and lesions of uncertain origin are also seen. Oral lesions such as candidiasis, oral hairy leukoplakia, herpetic ulcers, and Kaposi's sarcoma are often among the first symptoms of HIV infection.