A 28 year-old HIV-positive man came to the doctor’s office complaining of an oral infection. The tongue and oral cavity were coated with a whitish, patchy infection. Samples of the substance revealed oval yeast cells connected to one another long filaments.
- What is the etiologic (causative) agent of the disease/disorder?
Candida albacans is a fungus that grows naturally in every human body. In fact is the most common type of Candida. Normally it exists in a symbiotic relationship with the human body and can be viewed as mutualistic. The immune system of a healthy person has the ability to keep the growth of this fungus under control. However, when the immune system is compromised, as is the case with a HIV, the growth of this fungus will proliferate.
Like other fungi, it thrives in dark, moist, and warm environments. The human mouth is one such area. This explains the growth of the fungus on the tongue. The filamentous growth of the hyphae allow the fungus to grow into or penetrate the soft tissues of the tongue.
The condition of this fungal growth is known as thrush