The objectives of the study are to evaluate the relationship between common HIV-related oral lesions and absolute CD4+ count, age, gender, and medication used and to assess the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value of oral manifestations for low absolute CD4+ counts. HIV-positive patients, 200, from south India were selected, whose absolute CD4+ counts were determined within 2 weeks of oral examination. Sociodemographic data was obtained using a structured questionnaire. Oral manifestations were diagnosed according to presumptive criteria of EEC-clearinghouse classification (1993). Four or more concurrent oral lesions were statistically significant with low CD4+ counts <200 cells/mm3 (P=0.005). The highest and lowest mean CD4+ cell counts were seen in individuals with linear gingival erythema (LGE; 172.5 cells/mm3) and pseudomembranous candidiasis (PC; 87 cells/mm3), respectively. Smoking, age (<35 years), and males had a positive association with oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL; P<0.05). Patients with CD4+ counts <200 cells/mm3 were associated with 15 times greater risk of PC and four times at greater risk for occurrence of any oral manifestation. Concurrent oral manifestations (≥4) were good predictors (80-100%) of severe immune suppression. In most resource poor countries where facilities for undertaking CD4+ counts are not available, the presence of concurrent oral manifestations may be used as an indicator of deteriorating immune status.
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