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HIV symptoms: The early warning found in a person’s mouth – what to look out for


Today marks World AIDS Day and is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. To further raise awareness of the disease, what is an early symptom found in your mouth?

Mouth ulcers or sores are common in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

They usually happen because the virus weakens the immune system, so your body has a hard time fighting infections that cause them. 

Mouth sores affect between 70 to 90 percent of people with HIV at some stage in the disease.

In fact, the various sores, plaques, lesions, and ulcers that are commonly seen in people with HIV may be an early sign of infection.

People living with HIV are more likely to develop oral health problems because the virus can weaken the immune system, which makes it harder to fight infection.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 40 to 50 percent of people living with HIV have some kind of oral infection which causes complications in the mouth, including sores.

Mouth sores can be painful and make eating, swallowing, and taking medications more challenging.

What is the difference between AIDS and HIV?

HIV belongs to a group of viruses called retroviruses.

HIV attacks white blood cells within the immune system with these cells staying infected for the rest of their lives. If untreated, HIV will develop into AIDS.

AIDS is an umbrella term for the illnesses that occur due to having untreated HIV infection for several years, by which point the immune system is severely damaged and unable to fight off infections.

The illnesses and symptoms will vary for each person that has AIDS but may include life-threatening infections and cancers.

You can get HIV from contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.

Most people get the virus by having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV.

Thanks to medical advancements regarding treatment, HIV is no longer a death sentence and people with the virus can live normal and healthy lives.

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