Oral mucosal and facial manifestations of HIV/AIDS in children (Cape Peninsula, South Africa)
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Currently, HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest threats to child survival in South Africa. It is estimated that approximately 6000 newborn babies become infected with the HIV virus monthly i.e. approximately 200 babies per day. During a 24 month period (October 1999 – October 2001), a descriptive prevalence study of the oro-facial manifestations affecting HIV-positive children was conducted in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. The study population consisted of 268 vertically infected HIV-positive children. The study was motivated by the lack of data regarding oral mucosal lesions in children with vertically acquired HIV-infection. The study design was descriptive, and the population included consecutive, vertically infected HIV-positive patients sourced from out-patient clinics, hospital wards and special child-care facilities. The children were examined once consent was obtained from caregivers. The findings were documented using data capturing sheets. The data was captured on the Microsoft Excel program and analysed using the Epi 2000 program. The results indicated that a large proportion of HIV-infected children presented with orofacial manifestations at some stage during the course of HIV-infection. Oro-facial manifestations were observed in 70.1% of the study population. The prevalence of the most commonly observed manifestations were: oral candidiasis, 38.8%; parotid gland enlargement, 10.8%; oral ulceration, 5.6%; molluscum contagiosum, 7.8%; periodontal conditions, 3.4%; and herpes simplex infection, 0.7%.It can be concluded that in this sample of HIV-infected children, the prevalence of orofacial manifestations is higher than, and comparable with the findings of similar studies conducted in other regions of the world.