Knowledge and attitudes of oral health care workers on HIV-associated oral lesions: A study at PHC facilities in Gauteng




Oral health clinicians (OHC), oral manifestations, HIV, AIDS, knowledge and attitudes


Oral health care workers (OHCWs) are critical in providing holistic treatment and preventing the spread of HIV disease.
They are uniquely placed to identify, diagnose, manage and treat HIV-related oral lesions.
To determine oral health clinicians’ knowledge and attitudes towards HIV-associated oral lesions.

A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted at Gauteng’s primary health care (PHC) facilities. Data collection
targeted the three categories of OHCWs – dentists, dental therapists and oral hygienists.
The response rate was 67.5% (n=110), majority of the participants, 76.4% (n=84), were female. Nearly all participants, 91.8% (n=100), agreed that oral lesions are common in people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) and that early diagnosis of HIV/treatment increases PLHIV’s life expectancy. More than three-quarters (80%) reported that they had no problem treating patients diagnosed with HIV.
Almost a third, 36.4% (n=40), listed necrotising periodontal conditions and oral candidiasis 34.5% (n=38) as the most common oral manifestations. Most respondents correctly identified oral candidiasis (92.7%), Kaposi sarcoma (84.5%) and necrotising ulcerative periodontal conditions (80.9%).
Although OHCWs had sound knowledge of oral manifestations of HIV, training programmes must be prioritised for knowledge transfer. Dental facilities can be used as a health-promoting platform and a viable location for provider-initiated testing and counselling (PICT) and client-initiated counselling and testing (CICT), also known as voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). The use of HIV rapid testing kits is an option to be explored in the dental facility by OHCWs.


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Author Biography

Thomas K Madiba, Department of Community Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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How to Cite

Dhlodhlo, N. M., Mukhari-Baloyi, N. A., & Madiba, T. K. (2024). Knowledge and attitudes of oral health care workers on HIV-associated oral lesions: A study at PHC facilities in Gauteng. South African Dental Journal, 79(03), 137–143.