Adults Under 40

HIV/AIDS-Hepatitis B & C

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus (slowly replicating retrovirus) that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life- threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk .Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, many, but not all, people experience flu- like symptoms, often described as the “worst flu ever.” This is called “acute retroviral syndrome” (ARS) or “primary HIV infection,” and it’s the body’s natural response to the HIV infection.

Symptoms can include:
  • Fever (this is the most common symptom)
  • Swollen glands
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains
  • Headache

You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether you have HIV . The only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV is to get tested

Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are distinct diseases that affect the liver and have different hepatitis symptoms and treatments. Other causes of hepatitis include recreational drugs and prescription medications. Hepatitis type is determined by laboratory tests.Many people with hepatitis go undiagnosed, because the disease is mistaken for the flu or because there are no symptoms at all.

Symptoms can include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

If you are HIV+ or are a carrier of hepatitis B or C, there is no reason why your dentist should not continue to treat you as normal. The only reason this would change is if you develop AIDS, when your treatment may need to be modified. Equipment in dental practices has to undergo an extremely high level of cleaning to prevent cross infection. The only reason why your dentist may refer you is if you have a condition that they feel would be better treated by a specialist, just as they would with any patient, regardless of HIV or hepatitis status.

The IDA recommends that you discuss your general condition with your dentist before undergoing any dental procedure.Even seemingly harmless symptoms like bodyache and persistent cold could mask an underlying severe disease.

The time to visit your dentist is NOW.