Angular Cheilitis: Any Connection to HIV?

While Internet surfing can be an amazing journey where new information can be gleaned at a moment’s notice, it also can be a precarious, anxiety-provoking trip as one may confront misinformation or easily make misinterpretations from the research one gathers. This is often the case when medical searches are conducted as too many of us try to self-diagnose and scare ourselves when we read the symptoms of threatening diseases that seem to mirror our own. So when we notice mouth irregularities, like angular cheilitis, some of us may become concerned that they are HIV-specific.

Take a deep breath and realize that a bout of angular cheilitis is not symptomatic of HIV per se. Of interest, a primary feature of HIV infection may be painful mouth sores but such sores are not angular cheilitis. And, of course, even if one experiences actual mouth sores, this does not mean that HIV is present as there may be many other reasons for its appearance.

Always remember that individual response varies, and even two people experiencing the same symptoms, may have completely different conditions. For example, one person’s perleche may come about from a bacterial infection while another perleche victim may be fighting a fungal infection. Therefore, no one should work backwards, so to speak, and assert that any given symptom originates from an unequivocal condition.

To put your mind at ease, angular cheilitis is not HIV-specific and it would seem much more productive to consider other reasons for its existence. Of course, if any concerns arise, a doctor’s visit is much more beneficial that traveling across the Internet, scaring oneself.

If there is any connection between HIV and angular cheilitis, it is based on the fact that the HIV virus severely compromises the immune system, critically weakening the body. It is not only possible for this virus to wreak havoc on our natural defenses, but other opportunistic microbes become empowered and unleash their destruction in the absence of the body’s counter-assault.

Indeed, a house divided against its self cannot stand. When HIV enters the body, it assaults immune cells (CD4 cells), making us vulnerable to germs and infections, such as angular cheilitis. At first, the body creates more immune cells to make up for those that are lost, but soon HIV takes over these helper replacement cells by duplicating itself. The body cannot then produce an endless supply of immune cells, and one’s status can change from HIV to AIDS when the threshold of immune cells falls under a certain amount.

HIV drugs help to keep the virus from multiplying. Boosting the immune system also helps to fight the disease but HIV strains can still hide from stronger immune cells. Be that as it may, HIV presents a host of problems, and perhaps angular cheilitis may more readily materialize as a type of collateral damage. But again, a case of perleche is not indicative that one is battling HIV infection, or even that its an early sign that HIV is about to envelope the body.

Here’s some sage advice: Stop scaring yourself and increasing stress which will make battling perleche more difficult. Go to your doctor to discuss your concerns about the underlying cause of perleche. Angular cheilitis and HIV are not intimately connected as they can easily be mutually exclusive.