Access to oral health care for HIV patients in Nigeria: Role of attending physicians
O. O. Sofola, O. G. Uti, O. Emeka
Departments of Preventive Dentistry, College of Medicine/Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria
Objective: To assess the knowledge of attending physicians on oral manifestations of HIV infection and their attitude and practice towards dental referral for HIV patients. Method: A self-administered questionnaire survey of attending physicians in outpatient clinics of two teaching hospitals in Lagos and the National hospital, Abuja. Results: seventy-eight (78) doctors returned questionnaires. 16 of them (20.5%) could list correctly three oral lesions in HIV infection, 40 (51.3%) listed two, 18 (23.1%) listed one while 4 (5.1%) could not list any. In managing oral health complaints by patients, 59 (75.5%) agreed that their patients had complained of oral symptoms, of these, only 18 had ever referred a patient for dental care. Majority (84.6%) agreed that HIV patients should have regular dental check ups. Conclusion: The education of both patients and health providers in Nigeria on the importance of good oral health in the quality of life of the HIV patient is necessary. HIV patients in Nigeria should be referred for dental checkups and prophylaxis at least twice a year
Key words: Access, oral health, HIV, physician.
Correspondence: Dr O.O.Sofola