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Ranula: another HIV/AIDS associated oral lesion in Zimbabwe?

Oral Diseases 2004 July
AIM: To show that sublingual ranula is associated with HIV/AIDS and as such should be considered an HIV/AIDS associated oral lesion in Zimbabwe.

OBJECTIVES: To retrospectively study the prevalence, age and gender distribution, the HIV serostatus of ranula patients and the trend in prevalence of ranula and Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in patients at the two largest referral Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery specialist centres in Harare, Zimbabwe. To use this information to infer an association between ranula and HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.

DESIGN: Descriptive study with a retrospective and prospective component.

SETTING: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical clinics at specialist referral hospitals, Harare Central Hospital and Parirenyatwa Government Hospital, Harare, Zimbabwe.

SUBJECTS: Eighty-three cases of ranula were studied: 45 cases retrospectively and 38 consecutively. A total of 231 cases of KS were studied retrospectively.

METHODS: Histopathologic records of patients who presented with ranula and KS during the period January 1981 to September 2003 were studied. Gender and age were recorded for each case. Thirty-eight ranula patients studied consecutively during the period June 1999 to September 2003 were consented for HIV testing.

RESULTS: There were 83 cases of ranula; 43.4% male and 56.6% female. There were 231 cases of KS, 61.2% male and 38.8% female. Male to female ratio was 1:1.3 for ranula and for KS was 1:0.6. Ranula was predominant in the 0-10 year age group (73.5%) while KS was most common in the 21-40 year age group (76.4%). Ranula and KS both had a marked rise in prevalence from 1992 to 2003. A total of 88.5% of the ranula cases tested HIV positive with 95% in the 0-10 year age group.

CONCLUSION: There was a rising prevalence of ranula which mirrors that of KS (an HIV/AIDS associated oral lesion) and that 88.5% of ranula patients were HIV positive with 95% of them in the 0-10 year age group. Sublingual ranula should thus be considered another HIV/AIDS associated lesion in Zimbabwe, especially in children.

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