ZocdocAnswersWhy do people with HIV develop thrush?

Question

Why do people with HIV develop thrush?

I am negative, partner is HIV positive and dealing with thrush on and off for a long time. What can we do about this?

Answer

Thrush is an infection of the mouth with the a fungus called Candida. This is the type of fungus that can cause yeast infections of the skin, mouth, and vagina. This overgrowth of fungi occur when the immune system is weakened. In the case of your partner, his infection with HIV has most likely weakened his immune system to the point where he develops thrush. Thrush is one of the first signs of a weak immune system and can occur with only mild reductions in the T-cells which are effected by HIV. This is why so many HIV positive people get thrush. Treatment of thrush is simple, but preventing it from occurring in the future is a bit more complicated. The first question that I would have is if your partner is on the correct anti-retroviral medications. The medications for HIV today are excellent and can keep the virus at bay for many years. Perhaps these medications need optimized. Thrush can be treated with oral anti-fungal medication. I suggest that your partner schedule an appointment with his infectious disease specialist. This is the doctor that he sees for his HIV. The two of them can discuss this symptom of a weakened immune system and come up with a plan to combat it. Good luck.

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