Oral and Dental Health in People Living with HIV and Co-Occurring Non-Communicable Diseases

Oral and Dental Health in People Living with HIV and Co-Occurring Non-Communicable Diseases

People living with HIV/AIDs have increased rates and severity of oral diseases. This initiative supports research to understand the combined effects of HIV/AIDS, HIV therapies, and co-occurring non-communicable diseases on oral health, and the identification of approaches to prevent and treat oral diseases in these individuals.

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Advances in HIV/AIDS therapies have significantly improved survival among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH). When patients are diagnosed and treated early after infection, life expectancy is close to that of HIV-negative individuals. However, PLWH continue to experience increased rates and severity of age-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including: cardiovascular, liver and kidney diseases; neurocognitive disorders; and cancers. In addition, certain oral diseases are more common and severe in PLWH, for example caries, periodontal diseases, severe dry mouth, and oral and pharyngeal cancers. It is unclear whether the increased frequency and severity of oral diseases in PLWH are due to HIV infection, treatment with antiretroviral therapy, or individual demographic characteristics. The effects of NCDs on oral health and disease in PLWH has also been difficult to measure. This initiative will support efforts to understand the individual importance and combined effects of these factors. Further, it will encourage comparisons between PLWH without co-occurring NCDs, PLWH with co-occurring NCDs, and HIV-negative individuals with NCDs. This research could help generate evidence-based oral disease treatment guidelines tailored to the needs of patients with HIV/AIDs.

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