Dental care access and use among HIV-infected women

Am J Public Health. 1999 Jun;89(6):834-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.6.834.


Objectives: This study sought to identify predictors of dental care use in HIV-infected women.

Methods: In a cross-sectional survey of HIV-infected women enrolled in the northern California site of the Women's Interagency HIV Study, dental care use and unmet need were assessed in relation to selected variables.

Results: Among 213 respondents, who were predominantly Black and younger than 45 years, 43% had not seen a dentist and 53% (among dentate women) reported no dental cleaning in more than a year (although 67% had dental insurance coverage, mainly state Medicaid). Nine percent were edentulous. Among nonusers of dental care, 78% reported that they wanted care but failed to get it. Barriers included fear of and discomfort with dentists, not getting around to making an appointment, and not knowing which dentist to visit. Multivariate analysis showed that lack of past-year dental care was associated mainly with unemployment, a perception of poor oral health, and edentulism.

Conclusions: HIV-positive women appear to be underusing dental care services. Fear and lack of information regarding available resources, in addition to unemployment and perception of poor oral health, may be important barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Causality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Care for Chronically Ill / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Racial Groups
  • San Francisco
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology*