Dentists' perceptions of HIV/AIDS as an occupational hazard: a qualitative investigation

Int Dent J. 1991 Oct;41(5):259-64.


The aim of this study was to explore in depth a sample of dentists' perceptions of HIV/AIDS in the context of an investigation into their feelings towards occupational hazards. To fulfil this aim a qualitative research method, the Repertory Grid Technique, was employed. Twenty-three dentists were involved in the study. The main findings of the research were that a complex array of views were expressed by the sample, but that issues relating to concern and control were seen as being of greatest relevance and importance. The methodological technique used enabled a two-dimensional diagrammatic image to be created representing the samples' view of HIV/AIDS. Most of the dentists perceived HIV/AIDS as being of low to moderate concern and under moderate to high control. The older male dentists expressed higher levels of concern and lower levels of control. Those dentists with the greatest experience of dealing with people affected by HIV/AIDS expressed lower concern and higher control. When compared with other occupational hazards, the sample viewed HIV/AIDS in a very similar way to eye injury, mercury, radiation and herpes, in terms of concern and control. It was evident, however, that occupational stress was the hazard that provoked the highest degree of concern for the sample, and not HIV/AIDS.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome* / prevention & control
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome* / transmission
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Dental Care for Disabled
  • Dentists* / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections* / transmission
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases* / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Professional Practice
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors