HIV/AIDS & Oral Health Research Program

HIV/AIDS and Oral Health Research

The NIDCR HIV/AIDS and Oral Health Research Program supports research that is relevant to dental, oral and craniofacial health, and is aligned with the Office of AIDS Research (OAR) areas of emphasis. Specific areas of research interest include, but are not limited to:

Natural History and Epidemiology:

  • HIV-related oral health disparities and their impact on treatment access and effectiveness.

Etiology and Pathogenesis:

  • Basic research focused on the transmission, acquisition, establishment, and maintenance of HIV infection in the oral cavity.
  • Clinical complications of HIV as related to oral tissues.


  • Oral mucosal vaccination (Oral HIVacc) research that is aimed at development of novel approaches for prophylactic oral mucosal vaccines, which when combined with systemic vaccination, might produce a synergistic effect for protection against HIV infection.
  • Oral vaccination as a therapeutic strategy in people that live with HIV.

Behavioral and Social Science Research:

  • Adherence and compliance of HIV positive individuals to oral hygiene and dental care.
  • Issues related to HIV rapid screening in the dental office, including provider willingness to implement screening and patient compliance with screening and referral for care.

Therapeutics Research:

  • Research aimed at assessing the impact of HIV drugs and treatment regimens on oral health and conditions.
  • Basic, translational, clinical, and implementation research to develop combinations of antiretroviral drugs and compounds that can be used in sustained release formulations, in the oral cavity, for potential new pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) strategies.
  • Treatment of oral conditions in HIV-infected individuals receiving combination antiretroviral therapy.

Research Toward a Cure:

  • Research on mechanisms and dynamics of HIV persistence and latency in long-lived cells within oropharyngeal tissue sites.
  • Research to identify biomarkers and assays that measure the size of the viral reservoir in oropharyngeal tissues.

Research using biomarkers to predict and measure viral rebound in oropharyngeal tissues during an intensively monitored pause in antiretroviral treatment.

Last Reviewed
July 2018