Rapid HIV Testing in Dental Practices

In Rapid HIV Testing in Dental Practices, published in the American Journal of Public Health, authors Karolynn Siegel, et al, sought to find out how willing dentists are to provide rapid HIV tests. The authors suggest that the dental setting is a promising though largely unexplored venue in which to offer the HIV rapid test using oral fluid.

In this study, researchers interviewed 40 private practice dentists to ascertain their attitudes towards providing rapid HIV testing.  After interviews were completed, the principal concerns regarding offering patients HIV testing were false results, offending patients, viewing HIV testing as outside the scope of licensure, anticipating low patient acceptance of HIV testing in a dental setting, expecting inadequate reimbursement and potential negative impact on the practice.

Interestingly, dentists did not generally indicate a preoccupation with transmission risks, staff opposition to testing or the complexity of making referrals for follow-up after a positive result.

In order to adequately engage dentists more in primary prevention and population-based HIV screening, a larger cultural change appears to be required. Only 1 out of 40 dentists interviewed had even heard about the rapid HIV test before they were contacted about this study.

One Response to Rapid HIV Testing in Dental Practices

  1. Regular HIV testing is the best way to stop the spread of the virus and, if infected, begin a course of early treatment that will help you live a happier, healthy life.

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