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Public Health Rep. 2012 May;127 Suppl 2:5-16.

Increasing access to oral health care for people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.: baseline evaluation results of the Innovations in Oral Health Care Initiative.

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Health & Disability Working Group, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118, USA.



We provide an overview of the Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau's Special Projects of National Significance Innovations in Oral Health Care Initiative, describe the models developed by the 15 demonstration sites and associated evaluation center, and present initial descriptive data about the characteristics of the multisite evaluation study sample.


Baseline data were collected from May 2007-August 2009 for 2,469 adults living with HIV/AIDS who had been without dental care, except for emergency care, for 12 months or longer. Variables included sociodemographic characteristics, HIV status, medical care, history of dental care and oral health symptoms, oral health practices, and physical and mental health quality of life. Descriptive statistics of baseline variables were calculated.


The study sample included 2,469 adults who had been HIV-positive for a decade; most were engaged in HIV care. The majority (52.4%) of patients had not seen a dentist in more than two years; 48.2% reported an unmet oral health-care need since testing positive for HIV, and 63.2% rated the health of their teeth and gums as "fair" or "poor."


This study is the largest to examine oral health care among people living with HIV/AIDS in more than a decade. The need for access to oral health care among members of this HIV-positive patient sample is greater than in the general population, following previous trends. Findings from our study reinforce the necessity for continued federal and statewide advocacy and support for oral health programs targeting people living with HIV/AIDS; findings can be extended to other vulnerable populations.

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