Knowledge, attitudes and infection control practices of oral health students when managing patients with HIV/AIDS in Johannesburg, South Africa

Joosab, Zorayda .M.S
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Oral care for patients with HIV/AIDS plays a vital role in improving their nutritional intake, medication tolerance and effectiveness, treatment success rate, as well as quality of life. As the number of people living with HIV/AIDS increases, the possibility of oral healthcare professionals treating more patients with HIV/AIDS will increase and this will result in an increased risk of cross contamination in the dental setting. Aim was to determine the knowledge, attitude and infection control practices of undergraduate dental and oral hygiene students when managing patients with HIV/AIDS. This KAP survey was of a cross-sectional design with an analytical component conducted among 108 dental and oral hygiene students. A validated questionnaire was utilized as a study instrument of choice. A convenience sampling technique was utilized and all students in the target population formed the study sample. Results: The study sample had a mean age of 21 (20 - 23) years, with the majority being females 82 (75.93%) as opposed to 26 (24.07%) males. The average knowledge level of students regarding HIV/AIDS was approximately 55% with a standard deviation of 0.15; the median was 0.55 with a min-max value of (0.2-1.0). [Table2]. Twenty nine per cent of the students (31) had a moderate knowledge level regarding the management of HIV/AIDS patients. Just over half of the cohort, 60(55.56%) of the students had a positive attitude, 44(40.74%) had a passive attitude and 4(3.70%) students had a negative attitude. The infection control practices were of a good quality among the clinical students, with an average of 78.87% (std: 15.61%). Three quarters 53 (76%) of these students had good infection control practice and 17(24%) students had excellent infection control practices. Conclusion: The dental curriculum needs to be appropriately modified, existing learning activities and practical skills should be adapted to ensure future dental practitioners have the clinical competence, in combination with relevant knowledge to provide excellent and appropriate care to patients with HIV/AIDS or any other common transmissible diseases.
A Research Report submitted to the Faculty of Health Science, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Community Dentistry Johannesburg, 2016