More than 1 million individuals in the U.S. are infected with HIV; approximately 20% of whom do not know they are infected. Early diagnosis of HIV infection results in earlier access to treatment and reductions in HIV transmission. In 2006, the CDC recommended that health care providers offer routine HIV screening to all adolescent and adult patients, regardless of community seroprevalence or patient lifestyle. Dental providers are uniquely positioned to implement these recommendations using rapid oral fluid HIV screening technology. However, thus far, uptake into dental practice has been very limited.
The study utilized a qualitative descriptive approach with convenience samples of dental faculty and students. Six in-depth one-on-one interviews were conducted with dental faculty and three focus groups were conducted with fifteen dental students.
Results were fairly consistent and indicated relatively high levels of acceptability. Barriers and facilitators of oral fluid HIV screening were identified in four primary areas: scope of practice/practice enhancement, skills/knowledge/training, patient service/patient reactions and logistical issues.
Oral fluid HIV screening was described as having benefits for patients, dental practitioners and the public good. Many of the barriers to implementation that were identified in the study could be addressed through training and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Keywords: HIV testing, Barriers, Dental care