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Diagnosis and treatment of HIV-associated manifestations in otolaryngology

DOI: 10.4081/idr.2012.e9

Keywords: HIV , AIDS , ear , nose , throat , oral

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Almost 30 years after its first description, HIV still remains a global pandemic. The present paper aims to review the current knowledge on the ear, nose and throat (ENT) manifestations of HIV infection, and present the available diagnostic and treatment options. A literature review was conducted in Medline and other available database sources. Information from related books was also included in the data analysis. It is well acknowledged that up to 80% of HIV-infected patients eventually develop ENT manifestations; among which, oral disease appears to be the most common. Oro-pharyngeal manifestations include candidiasis, periodontal and gingival disease, HSV and HPV infection, oral hairy leucoplakia, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma. ENT manifestations in the neck can present as cervical lymphadenopathy or parotid gland enlargement. Respective nasal manifestations include sinusitis (often due to atypical bacteria), and allergic rhinitis. Finally, otological manifestations include otitis (externa, or media), inner ear involvement (sensorineural hearing loss, disequilibrium), and facial nerve palsy (up to 100 times more frequently compared to the general population). Although ENT symptoms are not diagnostic of the disease, they might be suggestive of HIV infection, or related to its progression and the respective treatment failure. ENT doctors should be aware of the ENT manifestations associated with HIV disease, and the respective diagnosis and treatment. A multi-disciplinary approach may be required to provide the appropriate level of care to HIV patients.


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