Knowledge of HIV and willingness to conduct oral rapid HIV testing among dentists in Xi'an China

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: China is considered a country of low HIV prevalence (780,000 people living with HIV), however, HIV infections among high-risk populations continue to grow at alarming rates. Voluntary Counseling and Testing services were first implemented in 2003, and oral rapid HIV testing (ORHT) began in 2012. Dentists, as oral health experts, would be well placed to conduct ORHT. We assessed willingness of dentists to undertake ORHT in their clinical practice.<br /><br />METHODS: A cross-sectional, paper-based survey of dentists from the Xi'an region of China was conducted from April to June 2013. Dentists were recruited from Shaanxi Stomatological Association using a stratified sampling methodology. A 40-item survey was used to measure knowledge of HIV, attitudes toward people living with HIV and willingness to conduct ORHT.<br /><br />RESULTS: 477 dentists completed the survey with a mean HIV knowledge test score of 13.2/18 (SD 1.9). If made available in the dental setting, 276 (57.9%) preferred to use blood to diagnose HIV, only 190 (39.8%) preferred saliva or both. Four hundred and thirty-five (91.2%) thought that ORHT was needed in dental clinics. Female dentists felt more accepting of ORHT than males (93.8% vs. 87.8%; χ2=5.145; p<0.05). 42.6% of the participants who responded thought that lack of education on ORHT for dentists was the most urgent problem to solve for ORHT, 144 (31.3%) thought that lack of support for ORHT from patients was the most urgent problem. There was statistically significant difference among dental hospital, dentistry and department of dentistry (χ2=24.176; p<0.05).<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: The majority of Chinese dentists thought that ORHT was needed in the dental setting. Providing opportunities for dentists and dental students to learn about HIV testing guidelines and practices is needed as well as feasibility and implementation science research.

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Wang, L., Santella, A. J., Huang, R., Kou, L., You, L., Zhang, X., … Zhuang, G. (2015). Knowledge of HIV and willingness to conduct oral rapid HIV testing among dentists in Xi’an China. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119274

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