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Article
January 1996

The Accurate Diagnosis of Oral Lesions in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Impact on Medical Staging

Author Affiliations

From the New York City (NY) Department of Health (Dr Cruz); School of Dental and Oral Surgery (Drs Cruz and Lamster), Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health (Dr Begg), and Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons (Dr Gorman), Columbia University, New York; Dental Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY (Dr Phelan); and Division of Infectious Diseases, Harlem (NY) Hospital Center (Dr El-Sadr).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122(1):68-73. doi:10.1001/archotol.1996.01890130060010
Abstract

Objective:  To compare identification of oral candidiasis (OC) and oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL) by medical examiners and oral/dental examiners and to assess the impact of these diagnoses on the medical staging of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Design:  Retrospective analysis of data collected by medical and oral/dental examiners at the baseline examination of a prospective study.

Setting:  Homosexual men and men and women who were parenteral drug users residing in New York City, enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study.

Subjects:  A total of 245 individuals participated in this study.

Main Outcome Measures:  The diagnoses of OC and OHL as recorded in the medical and oral/dental charts were analyzed retrospectively for the same medical and oral/dental evaluation visits. The medical staging of HIV infection based on that evaluation was analyzed concomitantly.

Results:  Among homosexual men, the oral/dental examiners diagnosed OC in 11% of the individuals and the medical examiners in 4%. In the same cohort, OHL was diagnosed by the oral/dental examiners in 14% of the individuals and by the medical examiners in 8%. Among the parenteral drug users the oral/dental examiners diagnosed OC in 29% of the individuals while the medical examiners made this diagnosis in 11%. In the same cohort, OHL was diagnosed by the oral/dental examiners in 9% of the individuals and by the medical examiners in 2%. The OC and OHL diagnoses affected the medical staging of 12% of the HIV-positive homosexual men and of 22% of the HIV-positive parenteral drug users. Forty percent of the HIV-positive homosexual men and 79% of the HIV-positive parenteral drug users with stage-defining oral lesions were not properly identified by the medical examiners.

Conclusions:  Specific training and a comprehensive oral examination have a significant impact on the diagnoses of OC and OHL, and on the medical staging of individuals with HIV infection.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996;122:68-73)

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