Oral hyperpigmentation as an adverse effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV patients: A systematic review and pooled prevalence


Background: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infects patients via CD4+ cells which are later be destroyed subsequently causing the deteriotation of immune system. HIV generally manifests in the oral cavity as the first indicating sign and a marker of disease progression. HAART medications are used to reduce the incidence of oral manifestations, however it can also generate adverse effects in the oral cavity including oral hyperpigmentation. This review aimed to estimate the prevalence of oral hyperpigmentation which affect individual quality of life as a side effect of HAART.

Material and methods: This systematic review applied Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2020. Literature search was performed in ScienceDirect, PubMed, and Scopus by combining terms such as highly active antiretroviral therapy, oral manifestation, epidemiology or prevalence published between January 1998 to March 2022.

Results: Of 108 articles, eleven articles were included for systematic review and meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of oral hyperpigmentation in HAART patients was 25% (95% CI: 11%, 38%; I2: 99%). Subgroup analysis based on geographical location showed varied result may be due to the type and duration of HAART used in study population. The most widely used type of ARV was from the NRTI group (n=7) and the study with the shortest duration showed the lowest oral hyperpigmentation prevalence (n=7).

Conclusions: There is an increased prevalence of oral hyperpigmentation by the use of HAART. Future study should investigate the correlation between HAART duration and the degree of oral hyperpigmentation.


Radithia D, Subarnbhesaj A, Ayuningtyas NF, Bakti RK, Mahdani FY, Pratiwi AS, Ayunnisa N, Putri SF, Pramitha SR




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment


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