Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can oral thrush be a symptom of HIV?

Rarely, oral thrush in adults can be an early sign of another condition or illness, such as HIV, cancer, diabetes or anaemia.

However, if you have an oral thrush infection, it doesn't necessarily mean you have HIV, AIDS or any other condition. If your infection is related to another condition, you'll probably have other more serious symptoms as well. So it's important to see your GP.

When your GP assesses your symptoms, they may ask you about other infections such as vaginal thrush or balanitis. Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis (the glans), caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. It can be a sign of thrush.

Your GP will also assess any other symptoms you have, to check for any other condition or illness.

If you have oral thrush, your GP will offer you treatment. If you've been at risk of HIV infection but haven't been diagnosed, your GP may also offer you an HIV test.

If you've already been diagnosed with HIV, you should be under the care of a specialist who will keep an eye on your immune status and arrange any treatment you need, such as antiviral medicine to help your immune system. These specialists are usually based in HIV or GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinics, although GPs are also involved in caring for people with HIV.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can develop into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). If you have AIDS, your immune system is severely weakened by HIV. You will therefore find it harder to fight off illness and infection.

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