Someone with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, is at increased risk for gingivitis because his or her immune system is weakened and less able to withstand infection. In fact, studies have shown that oral infections are one of the earliest clinical signs that someone may have HIV. And about three quarters of people with HIV will develop some type of oral infection, whether it is gingivitis or oral thrush (candidiasis).
An HIV-positive person shows the same types of symptoms of gingivitis as someone who is not HIV positive, including swollen or bleeding gums that are a dull red in color. But the symptoms may be more severe and more likely to recur in an immunocompromised person.
Treatment of gingivitis is the same for an HIV-positive individual as for anyone else—a thorough cleaning from a dental hygienist or dentist to remove plaque and tartar, followed by a regular routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to remove plaque. However, HIV-positive individuals must be especially diligent about oral health and visit a dentist at the first signs of irritation or infection in their teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing, a dentist may recommend an oral antibiotic if the infection is particularly stubborn.