Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV in the dental setting: Knowledge, attitudes and practices of oral health care workers in eThekwini district, KwaZulu-Natal

Keywords: rapid HIV testing, dental workplace, oral health care workers


Oral health care workers are frequently at the forefront in recognizing oral manifestations of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and can therefore play a key role in screening and early detection of HIV in dental patients. This study assessed oral health care workers’ knowledge, attitudes and possible practices in Voluntary Counselling and rapid HIV testing (VCT) in the dental workplace in eThekwini district, KwaZulu-Natal so as to determine their understanding and support for these services. This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study. A total of 120 questionnaires were distributed to oral health workers located in private and public dental settings in eThekwini district. One hundred (n=100) completed questionnaires were retrieved, yielding a response rate of 83%. The majority of participants (82%) reported that HIV testing and counselling did not occur in their workplace. Participants (87%) also indicated to have not been trained to perform HIV testing. Sixty-six participants (66%) reported willingness to implement HIV testing in their respective dental workplace. Less than half of the study population (41%) were “unsure” regarding the accuracy of rapid HIV testing. Participants reported inadequate knowledge and practice of VCT. Participants had positive attitudes towards VCT implementation in the dental setting, provided that adequate training and support was available from the Kwa-Zulu-Natal Department of Health. Rapid HIV testing, dental workplace, oral health care workers.


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