Why am I at risk of oral thrush if I have HIV?

If you have HIV, you have a higher chance of getting oral thrush because HIV weakens your immune system (the body's natural defences) and means you're more likely to get infections.

But if you stick to your HIV treatment, your likelihood of developing oral thrush is low.

What is oral thrush?

Oral thrush, also called oral candidosis or candidiasis, is a yeast infection that affects the mouth.

Symptoms can include:

  • sore white patches in the mouth that can be scraped off
  • a painful, burning sensation on the tongue
  • an unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • redness and soreness in the mouth and throat
  • cracks at the corners of the mouth

Oral thrush can also sometimes cause discomfort when eating and drinking.

Get medical advice

Visit your HIV clinic or see your GP if you have HIV and get oral thrush.

You'll probably need to take an antifungal medicine called fluconazole for a week or two.

Also tell the staff at your HIV clinic if you keep getting oral thrush. This may mean your HIV medication needs to be adjusted.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 08/12/2016

Next review due: 08/12/2019