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Br Dent J. 2004 Jun 26;196(12):749-54, quiz 780.

An investigation of dentists' knowledge, attitudes and practices towards HIV+ and patients with other blood-borne viruses in South Cheshire, UK.

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Liverpool John Moore's University, Faculty of Health and Applied Social Studies, Josephine Butler House, Myrtle Street, Liverpool L 7DN.


This paper derives from research conducted in the North West of England which was funded by the South Cheshire Health Authority. The research was funded because anecdotal evidence within a charity HIV/ AIDS organisation in the region suggested that some HIV positive individuals had been experiencing difficulties accessing NHS dental care. Following previous studies, this paper therefore examines dentists' knowledge, attitudes and practices in order to assess which factors may be influential in affecting dentists' willingness to treat patients with HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne viruses. The study population consisted of all 330 dentists working within the South Cheshire region whose addresses were obtained from the Local Health Authority. A response rate of 46% was obtained and the results were analysed using basic descriptive statistics and the chi-squared (chi(2)) test. The results of this study suggest that age and type of dental practice are significant factors associated with treatment practices, attitudes and sense of ethical responsibility amongst dentists in the South Cheshire region. Consistent with previous studies, this could be interpreted as due to the impact of educational programmes. Further qualitative research is recommended in order to address these issues in more depth.

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