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Title: Nigerian dental students' willingness to treat HIV-positive patients
Authors: AZODO, C. C.
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: J Dent Educ
Series/Report no.: 74;4
Abstract: Dental care of HIV-positive individuals plays a vital role in improving their nutritional intake, medication tolerance and effectiveness, treatment success rate, and quality of life. It is therefore important to ensure optimal dental care of this group of people, especially since more of them, with or without knowledge of their serologic status, are now utilizing dental services. The objective of this study was to assess Nigerian dental students' willingness to treat HIV-positive individuals. A descriptive cross-sectional survey of all seventy-six final-year dental students of the University of Benin, Nigeria, was conducted in December 2007 using a self-administered questionnaire that elicited information on the students' demography, self-rated knowledge on HIV/AIDS, attitude towards homosexuals, infection control practices, occupational risk perception, and willingness to provide care for HIV-positive individuals. The response rate was 76.3 percent. Over 77 percent of the respondents were in the twenty-five to thirty years age group. The male-female ratio was approximately 1.6:1. HIV-related knowledge was reported as high by only 31 percent of the respondents. Eighty-one percent showed great interest in HIV-related information, while about half (53.4 percent) exhibited significant worry about occupational contagion. Forty-eight (82.7 percent) desired more knowledge about safety precautions during treatment of HIV patients. Fifty respondents (86.2 percent) reported good infection control practices. About three-fourths (74.2 percent) rated the risk of HIV contagion from patients high, while only one-fourth (25.8 percent) reported having an unsympathetic attitude towards homosexuals. Almost all respondents (98.3 percent) agreed that oral care for HIV-positive individuals improves their quality of life, but only 58.8 percent expressed a willingness to treat HIV-positive patients and only 46.5 percent said they will render volunteer dental services in HIV centers. HIV prevalence will determine the location of practice of 41.4 percent of the respondents. The result suggests the need to have a comprehensive educational/motivational program for the next generation of dentists in Nigeria in order to ensure adequate care of HIV-positive individuals. The perceived deficiency revealed in this study can also serve as a vital guide for curriculum change on HIV-related issues.
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