Health-related Anxiety Consideration in Oral
Management of HIV- Seropositive Patient

Masita Mandasari, Zulvia Oktanida Syarif, Febrina Rahmayanti

Oral Medicine Residency Program, Faculty of Dentistry, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia

Psychiatry Department, Tarakan General Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia

Oral Medicine Department, Faculty of Dentistry, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia



Background: The number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) has been increasing since the first known case in the early 1980s. With the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), PLHIV can now anticipate a life expectancy similar to the general population. However, PLHIV can also experience comorbidities such as health anxiety in addition to oral manifestations of HIV.


Objectives: This is a case study of an HIV positive patient who presented to the oral medicine clinic in our hospital complaining of oral soreness and bumps on the lateral sides of his tongue as well as well as expressing anxiety about his health.


Case Presentation: A 35-years old male patient came to the oral medicine clinic complaining of discomfort in his tongue which had been present for a week. The patient was alarmed by two bumps seen on the right lateral side of the tongue and soreness on the left lateral side. Nystatin oral suspension was prescribed by a medical doctor but discontinued by the patient when he felt soreness.

The patient admitted that he had been HIV positive for three years and routinely took ART. The patient's viral load was undetectable and CD4+ cell count was normal (>500 cells/µL). Intraoral examination showed unremarkable findings apart from a slightly enlarged and erythematous foliate papillae on the left lateral side of the tongue. The patient was prescribed an antiseptic mouth rinse and after several days, his symptoms dissipated. Since the patient had earlier reported anxiety regarding his health and HIV status, we offered a self-assessment tool to measure the presence of anxiety symptom. The patient was shown to have anxiety using the Short Health Anxiety Inventory (total score=21).


Conclusion: Dentists and oral medicine specialists are required to give oral health care and also comprehend the psychiatric comorbidities in PLHIV thus providing and contributing to patient's improved oral health care and quality of life.

Keywords: HIV, anxiety, health anxiety, oral health