Oral candidosis (syn. Oral candidiasis; OC), is a collective term given to a group of oral mucosal disorders caused by the fugal pathogen belonging to the genus Candida. The association of OC with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has been known since the advent of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic. OC is one of the earliest manifestations of HIV disease in high risk individuals not undergoing chemotherapy and is also a strong predictor of the subsequent risk of AIDS-related illness or death. With the advances in HIV therapy, such as highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), the prevalence and presenting features of OC have changed in HIV-infected individuals, especially those in industrialized countries. The presence of OC in "controlled" HIV-positive individuals may be indicative of a patient nonadherence to therapy or possible failure. The factors contributing to the genesis of OC and its progression in these individuals are poorly understood, but may include an interrelationship between HIV and Candida and/or a dysfunction in the local immunity, superimposed on weakened cell-mediated immunity and depletion of CD4 T cells. The dramatic increase in publications on this topic matches the increased importance and awareness of this opportunistic infection in HIV-infected individuals. In this review we first address the epidemiologic and clinical features of OC in HIV-infected persons, followed by the current understanding of the pathogenesis of OC in the context of HIV infection with a concluding section on the current management concepts of OC.
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