Objective: The present study was undertaken to investigate knowledge of AIDS and HIV infection among Japanese dental health care workers, the source of that knowledge and attitudes of dental workers towards infected patients. Methods: The study population surveyed by means of a self-administered questionnaire consisted of 174 dental health workers at Nagasaki University Dental Hospital, including students and trainee hygienists. Results: Most respondents (100% response) claimed their major source of AIDS knowledge to be derived from the media. Almost all considered their knowledge of AIDS and HIV infection to be more than moderate but still inadequate. The majority of respondents would be hesitant about performing dental treatment on HIV-positive patients. It was widely anticipated that dental patients infected with HIV would increase in the next few years and many were anxious about the increasing occupational risk of HIV infection. Only 22.4% of respondents had the same attitude towards treating HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients. Most also considered that they would be able to take care of the oral opportunistic diseases associated with HIV. Over 90.0% of respondents requested additional education about HIV, particularly information about the prevention and spread of the virus and cross-infection requirements. Conclusion: It is concluded that further training in the medical and psychological aspects of treating HIV-positive patients is indicated in Japan.
- Dental personnel
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