What is hairy leukoplakia?

Updated: Aug 05, 2019
  • Author: James E Cade, DDS; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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Answer

Oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL) is a disease of the mucosa first described in 1984. This pathology is associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and occurs mostly in people with HIV infection, including those who do not have a diagnosis of AIDS. HIV-negative people can have oral hairy leukoplakia, especially individuals with organ transplants and other immunocompromised disease. [1, 2] The condition has also been reported in individuals not immunocompromised. [3] The first case in an HIV-negative patient was reported in 1999 in a 56-year-old patient with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Later, many cases were reported in heart, kidney, and bone marrow transplant recipients and in patients with hematological malignancies. [4, 5]


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