As the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has transitioned human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection into a 'chronic disease' management strategy, there is growing evidence that infection with non-HIV pathogens in HIV+ patients may have important public health implications in undermining HAART success and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome progression. Several bacterial and host cell products during infections with non-HIV pathogens have shown the capacity to regulate HIV replication in latently infected cells. A high prevalence of oral infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi has been described in HIV+ patients, including periodontal disease. The oral cavity appears to be a site of HIV pathogenesis and potential reservoir for the disease as HIV RNA and DNA forms are present in saliva as well as in gingival crevicular fluid, and oral epithelial cells are susceptible to either cell free or cell-associated HIV infection. The clinical and biological bases of potential associations between chronic oral inflammatory disorders, such as periodontal disease, and exacerbation of HIV viraemia have received little attention. This review attempts to evaluate the current understanding of HIV reactivation as a result of co-infection and/or inflammation induced by non-HIV pathogens in HIV-infected patients, and presents a hypothetic model about the potential role of periodontitis as a global oral infection that potentially contributes to HIV recrudescence.