White, hairy patches in the mouth could signal a STD known as oral hairy leukoplakia


Unusual symptoms in the mouth are not always a result of poor hygiene. Often these peculiar and sometimes worrying symptoms may be alerting you to a STD or a STI.

Oral symptoms that could indicate an STD include:

  • Sores in the mouth, which may be painless
  • Lesions similar to cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth
  • Sore throat and difficulty swallowing
  • Redness with white spots resembling strep throat
  • Swollen tonsils and/or lymph nodes.

Oral hairy leukoplakia is a condition triggered by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

“It causes white patches on your tongue. Sometimes the patches happen in other parts of your mouth. The patches may look hairy,” said John Hopkins Medicine.

The health site added: “The condition is most often found in people with weak immune systems.

“HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) often causes this condition.”

Although STIs or STDs are more commonly spread through sexual intercourse, it’s still possible to acquire them during oral sex.

Wearing a condom or another barrier method correctly, and every time, is the only way to reduce your risk and prevent transmission.

You should get tested regularly if you are sexually active. The sooner you know your status, the earlier you can get treatment.


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