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What are the possible causes of white tongue appearance?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

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Published At October 8, 2022
Reviewed AtJanuary 30, 2024

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I had an (Insertive) UAI (Unprotected Anal Intercourse) with an HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)-positive person. I was put on PEP (Post - exposure Prophylaxis) at 82 hours. Adhered to PEP, after four months of exposure, I did my fourth-generation HIV duo combo, which came back negative. I am uncircumcised. I have had a white tongue for two months and no other symptoms. Do you recommend retesting at six months? What can be the cause of white tongue? It is not oral thrush or leukoplakia (confirmed by ENT specialists).


Welcome to icliniq.com.

If your test had been done in an accredited laboratory and there is no further exposure, your test report will be considered conclusive, but if there is any other exposure also, get tested for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and other STIs (sexually transmitted diseases). For white tongue, it could be nutritional deficiency or gastrointestinal causes. Get vitamin D3, B12, and thyroid profile tests.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

I had no further exposure. I have done all my STDs(Sexually Transmitted Diseases) test, and complete blood tests post three months of exposure from multiple accredited NABH laboratories. Attached are reports for reference. All STDs are negative; however, my AST (Aspartate aminotransferase), ALT(Alanine aminotransferase), and gamma GT (Glutamyl Transferase) are a bit higher in the reports. Kindly confirm from my blood test reports if there is any concern and gamma GT seems to be a lot higher.

Thank you in advance.


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

There is a mild elevation in liver enzymes and GGT (gamma-glutamyl transferase) levels. If you have been taking alcohol or any other substance abuse, it is suggested to abstain from the same. Get one ultrasound whole abdomen and revert.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Ravinder K. Sachdeva
Dr. Ravinder K. Sachdeva

HIV/AIDS specialist

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