Giuliani, Michele and Lajolo, Carlo and Rezza, Giovanni and Arici, Claudio and Babudieri, Sergio and Grima, Pierfrancesco and Martinelli, Canio and Tamburrini, Enrica and Vecchiet, Jacopo and Mura, Maria Stella Anna and Cauda, Roberto and Tumbarello, Mario (2005) Dental care and HIV-infected individuals: are they equally treated? Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Vol. 33 (6), p. 447-453. eISSN 1600-0528. Article.
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Objective: To investigate the problems in seeking dental care faced by HIV-positive individuals in Italy. Methods: A multicenter observational study was performed by distributing an anonymous self-administered questionnaire to patients of six public healthcare facilities specialized in the treatment of individuals with HIV infection. The questions concerned personal data potentially correlated with discrimination, the patient–dentist relationship before and after HIV diagnosis, and the reasons for seeking dental care in public facilities. We also evaluated the patients' discomfort in the patient–dentist relationship after HIV diagnosis, performing univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Of the 1500 questionnaires distributed; 883 were filled-out completely. A total of 630 persons received dental care after HIV diagnosis: 209 (33.2%) did not tell the dentist that they were seropositive. Of those who did, 56 were refused care. For patients treated by a private dentist, having been treated by the same dentist before diagnosis was a risk factor for great discomfort in the patient–dentist relationship (P < 0.002). Being treated in public facilities was associated with having received dental care after HIV diagnosis (P < 0.001) and a primary school education (P < 0.001). Conclusions: There exist episodes of discrimination on the part of some dentists, and a relatively high proportion of HIV-positive persons do not disclose their seropositivity to the dentist. Dentists should be provided with training for promoting both ethically acceptable practices and suitable clinical management of HIV-positive persons.
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