The Annals of otology, rhinology, and laryngology

Oropharyngeal syphilis among patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

PMID 23951694


There has been a reemergence of syphilis among men who have sex with men over the past decade, especially in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This study was aimed at describing the oropharyngeal manifestations of secondary syphilis in HIV-infected patients. We also sought to determine the clinical risk factors for the development of oropharyngeal syphilitic lesions in patients with secondary syphilis. We performed an observational, comparative, retrospective study of HIV-infected patients who were admitted to a tertiary referral center in Mexico City and who had syphilis according to the criteria of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We identified 44 patients with syphilis, 31 of whom had secondary syphilis and 9 of whom had oropharyngeal manifestations. Lesions involving the anterior tonsillar pillar were the most common, observed in 5 patients; and tongue lesions were observed in 3 patients. In the patients with secondary syphilis, multivariate analysis showed that the development of oropharyngeal lesions was not associated with age, CD4 and CD8 cell counts, or HIV RNA viral load. The present work shows that oropharyngeal manifestations of secondary syphilis and overlapping stages of syphilis are frequent in HIV-infected patients. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comparative study of the oropharyngeal manifestations of syphilis in HIV-infected patients.