What is the global prevalence of hairy leukoplakia?

Updated: Jun 11, 2021
  • Author: James E Cade, DDS, FACD; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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The incidence of oral hairy leukoplakia is similar to that in the United States and thereby reflects the prevalence of HIV. In populations where the prevalence of HIV is low, oral mucosal lesions alone are poor prognostic predictors of HIV infection. [18]

A cross-sectional study from Brazil reported on data collected from clinical examinations, interviews, and medical records for adult patients treated an HIV/AIDS clinic at the University Hospital of the Federal University in Rio Grande. Three hundred persons were observed (April 2006 to January 2007). Of these patients, 51% were male and the mean age was 40 years. Thirty-nine percent presented with oral lesions. The most common was candidiasis (59.1%), followed by hairy leukoplakia (19.5%). [19]

A study from Saudi Arabia reported that compared with age and sex-matched healthy control subjects (N = 52), 8.6% of stable renal transplantation patients (N = 58) had oral leukoplakia. Other oral lesions reported were gingival hyperplasia (74.1%) and erythematous candidiasis (15.5%). [20] However, a study from Spain reported only one case of hairy leukoplakia in 500 renal transplant recipients studied. [21]

When associated with HIV infection, hairy leukoplakia is more common in Europe and the United States compared with Africa and Asia. [22]

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