Angular Cheilitis and HIV: What’s the Connection?
If you search online for information about angular cheilitis, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something that tells you it’s a common symptom of HIV. And if you think you have angular cheilitis, this is more than enough to make you panic. Don’t. At least for now.
Angular cheilitis is not a common symptom of HIV. Having this inflammatory skin condition that affects the corners of the mouth’s skin is not a good indicator of HIV. Before we get to that, let’s learn more about these two medical conditions first in order to better understand why they are commonly associated with each other.
Angular cheilitis is an infection of the skin on the corners of the mouth. This is due to the accumulation of saliva on these areas that leave the skin dry and prone to chapping. Extreme chapping can lead to the formation of cracks, which in time can become infected as more bacteria- and fungi-containing saliva get into them. However, infection doesn’t happen automatically. It only occurs when the body’s immune resistance is weak.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions have HIV infection, with nearly 20 percent unaware of it. All over the world, there’s an average of 1.5 million deaths per year, as reported by the Worldwide HIV and AIDS statistics of Avert.org.
The virus comes into types: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The more common and what is referred to by HIV is HIV-1. Both types of viruses destroy specific cells in the blood—the CD4+ T cells, which are the ones responsible for curbing illnesses. AIDs can therefore weaken the immune system greatly and make patients a lot more susceptible to diseases and infections.
HIV can be found in the infected person’s bodily fluids including blood, breast milk, vaginal fluids, semen, and so on. This is why, it can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse or blood transfusion. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child during pregnancy or to a baby through breastfeeding.
Being a deadly disease with no cure, HIV and AIDS are greatly feared. This and the social stigma that comes with acquiring this medical condition definitely make a person with AIDS suffer a lot. It’s good to know though that there are many forms of treatment that can slow down the progress of this disease, helping people infected with HIV live a good quality life.
The reason angular cheilitis is being linked to HIV is because both are triggered by weak immune systems. When the body’s immune resistance is very weak, it becomes easy to develop infections including angular cheilitis. But again, it doesn’t mean that just because you have inflammation on the corners of your mouth, you’re already infected with HIV. It can be caused by many other factors. If it would make you feel better, have yourself tested for HIV to have that peace of mind you’re looking for. Once you find out that it’s not the cause of your angular cheilitis, move on and find out what truly is causing it so you can get the suitable proper treatment.