Dry mouth

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Lack of saliva in the mouth is known as dry mouth or xerostomia. Dry mouth can cause problems with chewing and digesting food, and lead to high levels of acid in the mouth. In turn, this can increase the incidence of oral candidiasis, bacterial infections and tooth decay.

Many mouth infections associated with HIV/AIDS have become less common since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy. However, there is no evidence that prevalence of dry mouth among people with HIV has decreased in the age of HAART.


There are number of causes of dry mouth among people with HIV. A condition called HIV-associated salivary disease, particularly common in children, may present as dry mouth and swollen salivary glands. Dry mouth may be a side-effect of medications, including ddI and drugs used to treat anxiety and depression. Other causes of dry mouth include: allergies, breathing through the mouth at night, and mouth infections.

What to do

Drinking extra water and chewing sugarless gum may relieve a dry mouth. Brushing teeth regularly is advised to reduce the chance of tooth decay, candidiasis and gum infection.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.