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 study the types of oral lesions among HIV-infected patients in Singapore. Oral examination was done on 81 randomly selected HIV-infected patients attending the specialist outpatient clinic at the Communicable Disease Centre. A total of 9 different lesions were observed in 45 (56%). The prevalence of oral hairy leukoplakia was observed to be 5%. The study revealed that manifestation of oral hairy leukoplakia in HIV-infected patients in Singapore appears to be less frequent in comparison with those patients from Africa and Europe.