Education in HIV risk screening, counseling, testing, and referral: survey of U.S. dental schools

Lauren L Patton, V Allen Santos, Rosemary G McKaig, Diane C Shugars, Ronald P Strauss
Journal of Dental Education 2002, 66 (10): 1169-77
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, thousands of Americans are infected with HIV but are unaware of their infection status. National disease prevention goals to identify and treat these individuals will benefit from HIV risk screening, counseling, testing, and referral services conducted in nontraditional settings and the use of alternative diagnostic methods such as oral fluid-based HIV antibody testing. Using a mail survey of the fifty-four U.S. dental schools (85 percent response rate), this study assessed the teaching and practice of HIV risk screening, as well as the opinions of dental educators regarding HIV counseling and testing and a possible role for oral fluid-based HIV antibody testing in dental offices. All responding dental schools have curriculum and clinical education training regarding HIV behavioral risks, medical history, and use of oral manifestations as indicators of HIV Educators felt risk screening and referral for HIV counseling and testing was part of a dentist's professional role. One-third of respondents indicated they might include HIV counseling and testing using a rapid oral fluid-based HIV antibody test in their clinics. However, these respondents lacked confidence that graduating dentists have the skills and willingness to conduct HIV counseling and testing in dental practice. Lack of training in prevention counseling was seen as a primary barrier.

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