HIV symptoms in the mouth can be difficult to detect, especially if you are unaware of what to look for. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common symptoms of HIV in the mouth. Knowing what to look for is essential to get treatment as soon as possible. If you experience any of these symptoms, please see a doctor immediately!

  • HIV mouth sores
  • Herpes
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Oral hairy leukoplakia
  • Aphthous ulcers
  • Oral thrush
  • Dry mouth
  • HIV treatment complications

HIV mouth sores

HIV-related mouth sores are a frequent symptom. In reality, between 40 to 50 percent of those living with HIV experience oral issues due to a compromised immune system.

These mouth sores might have a negative impact on a person’s health. These sores and infections are more difficult to cure in HIV patients, and they can also interfere with eating and medicine.




Oral herpes can leave you with painful red sores on your lips, gums, tongue, and inner cheeks.

Cold sores or fever blisters are the most frequent names for these lesions caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Additional signs and symptoms might include:

  • feverherpes sores on lips
  • fatigue
  • muscular pains
  • mouth and throat problems (swollen lymph nodes)
  • a stinging or burning feeling around the sores

Oral herpes can affect anybody; however, HIV raises the risk of opportunistic infections like HSV. Cold sore breakouts may last longer and be more severe in HIV-positive patients.

HSV is a highly contagious and frequent virus. One can contract oral herpes by coming into close contact with the saliva or cold sores of someone who has the condition.

During a sore outbreak, transmission is more likely to occur. People can lower their chance of developing HSV by not kissing or sharing meals with someone with oral herpes, particularly during an outbreak. HSV can also cause genital herpes, which can be passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse.

Treatment: Herpes is a curable condition. Oral antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, may be prescribed by doctors.

Is it contagious? Yes. People with oral herpes should not share food with others.

Human papillomavirus

HPV can produce warts on the lips and around the mouth. Small cauliflower-like lumps or masses with folds or projections might be mistaken for warts. They can germinate both within and outside the mouth.

Warts are usually white, although they can also be pink or gray. They’re not painful in most cases, but they may be annoying. HPV oral warts can be plucked at and bleed depending on their location.

HPV is also linked to oropharyngeal cancer or cancer of the throat.

Treatment: To eliminate warts, a healthcare expert will need surgery. Warts on the lips can be treated with a prescription ointment, but there is no oral treatment other than cautery.

Is it contagious? If it’s broken and there’s fluid, it’s possible.

Oral hairy leukoplakia

Oral hairy leukoplakia is a condition triggered by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It causes white patches on your tongue. People with HIV infection are more likely to develop oral hairy leukoplakia. It might be a sign that your HIV has progressed. It’s an indicator of a weakened immune system. If you have HIV and are exposed to EBV, your chances of developing oral hairy leukoplakia are quite high. People with HIV who smoke have a higher chance of contracting the disease.

Patches of oral hairy leukoplakia are easy to spot. A physical exam is frequently enough for healthcare experts to diagnose it. Oral candidiasis, often known as thrush, might seem identical. On the other hand, your healthcare physician frequently removes thrush growths on the tongue. This will assist your healthcare practitioner in distinguishing between the two illnesses.

The diagnosis can be confirmed by a biopsy of one of the patches. However, this test is normally only performed if the patches appear to be unique or if the doctor suspects cancer or another uncommon disorder.

Treatment: Oral hairy leukoplakia itself doesn’t usually need treatment. There are no other symptoms. But, it may mean your healthcare provider needs to take a closer look at your HIV medication to help boost your immunity.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antiviral drug. Rarely, in more severe cases, your healthcare provider may surgically remove the sore.

Is it contagious? Yes. Most human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients with oral hairy leukoplakia are highly contagious and can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Aphthous ulcers

Canker sores are frequent oral lesions that can be painful, particularly if they do not heal on their own. Although a gray or yellow coating might cover them, they’re normally red. Aphthous ulcers are another name for canker sores.

They usually appear on the insides of the cheeks, lips, and around the tongue. Because they move when a person speaks or eats, these places may aggravate the sores.

Although canker sores are not a sign of HIV, they can raise the risk of recurrent and severe sores if you have the virus. Canker sores can also be caused by stress, acidic diets, and mineral deficiencies, which include:

  • ironaphthous ulcers in HIV
  • zinc
  • niacin (vitamin B-3)
  • folate
  • glutathione
  • carnitine
  • cobalamin (vitamin B-12)

Treatment: In mild cases, over-the-counter (OTC) cream and mouthwash can reduce inflammation and sores. Canker sores can also be treated with a saltwater solution.

If someone has severe canker sores, they may be prescribed corticosteroids in pill form. For cases of prolonged sores that interfere with meals, try topical anesthetic sprays. These can help numb the area.

Is it contagious? No.

Oral thrush

Thrush is a yeast infection that presents as white, yellowish, or red patches in the mouth. When the patches are mistakenly wiped, they might bleed or burn.

Oral thrush can produce painful fissures around the mouth in some people. Angular cheilitis is the medical term for this condition. If left untreated, thrush can spread to the throat.

Treatment: Antifungal mouthwash is usually the first line of therapy for mild thrush. HIV, on the other hand, can make this illness more resistant. A healthcare professional may prescribe oral antifungal tablets if this is the case.

Is it contagious? No, even if it is a fungal infection.

Dry mouth

Gum disease (gingivitis) and dry mouth are widespread concerns; however, they aren’t sores. Gum disease produces swollen gums, which can be uncomfortable. It can cause gum or tooth loss in as little as 18 months in extreme instances. Gum disease might also indicate inflammation, which raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.

When a person does not create enough saliva, they have a dry mouth. Saliva can both protect and prevent infections in the mouth. Plaque can form on the teeth and gums if saliva isn’t present. This can exacerbate gum disease.

Treatment: Keep your mouth clean and moisturized by drinking water, flossing, and brushing regularly. A dentist will remove plaque with a thorough cleaning method if you have gum disease.

Is it contagious? Yes, since the gum disease may be susceptible to bacterial infection, it is best to avoid food sharing.

HIV treatment complications:

Consultation for hiv symptoms in mouthMouth sores might hamper HIV therapy. Reduced immune function can hasten the spread of oral sores, which have a tendency to multiply in huge numbers. This can make swallowing difficult, causing some people to forget to take their pills or eat their meals.

If mouth sores make it difficult to take HIV medicine, talk to your doctor. Other therapeutic alternatives are available to them.

Mouth sores that go untreated might get infected. When people eat or brush their teeth, canker and cold sores can appear. Warts and thrush can be plucked off by mistake. People with open wounds are more susceptible to infections.

Because there isn’t enough saliva to naturally combat bacteria, dry mouth raises the risk of illness.

Treatment for mouth sores should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner. The number of mouth sores and the danger of infection is reduced when treated quickly.

One of the best ways to treat and prevent HIV-related mouth sores is to see a dentist for regular checkups. A dentist can detect problems early on or help prevent sores from worsening. Let them know about ongoing mouth sores or infections that won’t go away. They can help with treatment and managing symptoms to maintain your best oral health.