Leukoplakia is marked by the formation of white or gray thickened patches on mucous membranes of cheeks, gums or tongue. The cause for Leukoplakia is still not known. However, it is mainly linked to usage of tobacco and consumption of alcohol. Hairy kind of Leukoplakia is observed during HIV infection which is caused by Epstein-Barr virus. Leukoplakia in long run may lead to oral cancer. Hence, oral examination with the dentist is advisable when the condition is suspected. Dentists send the tissue for biopsy to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. If a biopsy comes back positive for oral cancer, the patch must be removed immediately. This can help prevent its spread.
A study was conducted to evaluate the clinical spectrum of oral lesions in a series of HIV-infected patients when first examined at the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) clinic of a tertiary care institution in Mexico City, Mexico, and the changes observed over 12 years. In the study, 1000 HIV-infected patients were included (87.9% male). At the baseline examination, hairy leukoplakia strongly associated with HIV was present in 22.6%) of HIV-infected patients.