OBJECTIVE: To estimate the predictive values for HIV infection of diagnosis of oral manifestations of the infection. METHOD: Prevalence of oral manifestations was compared in cross sectional blinded clinical examinations of homosexual men attending a genitourinary medicine clinic. Data were extrapolated to populations in England and Wales based on estimates of the prevalence of HIV infection. RESULTS: Data were analysed for 572 HIV infected and non-infected men (312 and 260 respectively). Positive predictive values for erythematous candidiasis, hairy leucoplakia and pseudomembranous candidiasis were greater than 0.96 at the genitourinary medicine clinic and are estimated to be greater than 0.72 among homosexual men in London. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical diagnoses of mucosal lesions alone are poor predictors of HIV infection but are useful when used in conjunction with a social history to establish if there are risk factors for infection.
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