Patients' attitudes about rapid oral HIV screening in an urban, free dental clinic

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2008 Mar;22(3):205-12. doi: 10.1089/apc.2007.0235.


The 2006 Centers for Disease Control recommendations for routine HIV screening in all health care settings could include dental clinics an important testing venue. However, little is known about patients' attitudes regarding the routine use of rapid oral HIV screening at an urban free dental clinic. This pilot study seeks to evaluate the patient perspective on rapid HIV screening in this setting. In June 2007, patients at a free dental clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, were provided an attitude assessment survey prior to their dental visit. This dental clinic serves a diverse patient population consisting of approximately 37% white, 47% black, 6% Hispanic, 4% Asian, and 1% Native American uninsured patients. Results were analyzed for acceptance of testing and potential barriers. Of the 150 respondents, 73% reported they would be willing to take a free rapid HIV screening test during their dental visit. Overall, 91% of Hispanics, 79% of Caucasians, and 73% of African American patients reported they would be willing to be screened. Patients with a history of multiple prior screening tests for HIV were more likely to agree to oral rapid HIV screening in the dental clinic. The majority (62%) reported that it did not matter who provided them with the screening result, although some (37%) preferred their dentist above any other provider. Low self-perception of risk (37%) and having already received screening elsewhere (24%) were the main reasons for not accepting a free, rapid HIV screening. Overall, dental clinic patients widely accepted the offer of rapid oral HIV screening. Rapid HIV screening in the dental clinic setting is a viable option to increase the number of individuals who know their HIV status.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Dental Clinics / organization & administration*
  • Dental Clinics / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnosis, Oral / economics
  • Diagnosis, Oral / methods*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Urban Population