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Knowledge of HIV Shown to Be Lacking Among Oral Health Professionals

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A study published in Frontiers in Public Health highlights a significant knowledge gap among dentists and dental hygienists regarding the impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections on oral health. The research found that while periodontists and oral medicine practitioners showed a comprehensive understanding, general dentists and dental students lacked expertise in this area. HIV, affecting approximately 38.4 million people globally, can lead to oral lesions and periodontal diseases, even in those undergoing treatment. The study emphasized periodontitis and gingivitis as prevalent manifestations of HIV, with potential changes in salivary microbial composition. Although the risk of HIV transmission in dental settings is low, cross-contamination remains a concern. The research, involving 486 oral health professionals, revealed that older clinicians and women exhibited higher comprehension scores. General dentists scored better than dental students, while periodontists demonstrated the greatest understanding of HIV. However, limitations, such as survey fatigue and small sample sizes in specialist subgroups, were acknowledged. The study highlights the need for improved HIV education among dental professionals to better understand and manage its implications on periodontal health. Click here to read more.

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