Question | Discussion | References | CME Credit

Updated February 3, 2011

Case 1: Oral Candidiasis

Authors: Mark Schubert, DDS, MSD David H. Spach, MD

A 39-year-old HIV-infected male presents to the clinic with a 5-day history of a mild burning sensation in his mouth that is accentuated when eating acidic or spicy foods. The patient has no discomfort when swallowing. He was diagnosed with HIV infection in 1997, but has remained asymptomatic up until now. Most recent laboratory studies performed 2 months earlier showed a CD4 count of 264 cells/mm3 and an HIV RNA level of 36,350 copies/ml. Currently he is not taking any medications. The intra-oral examination shows erythema of the hard palate (Figure 1) and flat erythematous areas on the dorsal tongue surface that resembled "bald patches." No visible white patches or plaques are visualized. A tentative clinical diagnosis of oral candidiasis is made.

Which of the following is TRUE regarding oral candidiasis in this patient?

A The patient likely has the erythematous (atrophic) form of oral candidiasis and fluconazole (Diflucan) would be an appropriate option for therapy.
B The diagnosis of oral candidiasis is likely inaccurate considering the patient does not have any visible white patches or white plaques.
C If the patient has oral candidiasis, itraconazole (Sporanox) tablets would be more effective than itraconazole solution (assuming the same dose of the two preparations is used).
D If the patient has oral candidiasis, clotrimazole (Mycelex) troches would clearly provide a more effective clinical response than fluconazole (Diflucan) and clotrimazole would have a lower rate of return of symptoms.

  • The following link will open in a new 

    Figure 1. Erythema of the Mouth

    Intra-oral view showing diffuse erythema of the hard palate.

    Figure 1