Comfort Levels Among Predoctoral Dental and Dental Hygiene Students in Treating Patients at High-Risk for HIV/AIDS

J Dent Hyg. 2015 Jun;89(3):162-9.


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to discuss the impact of the training program for predoctoral dental and hygiene students at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD) with regard to issues related to treating patients with a high risk of having HIV/AIDS.

Methods: LLUSD offers a training program for fourth-year dental hygiene and predoctoral dental students that addresses the oral health care needs of persons with HIV disease. The training occurs in small groups 2 days per week at a community clinic serving HIV-positive individuals. Three academic quarters are required to train all fourth-year students each year. Evaluation of program effectiveness is conducted by means of pre- and post-session surveys. Dental hygiene and dental students completed the pre-survey during the spring quarter of their third year in public health dentistry courses. The same students completed the post-session survey at the end of their weekly training sessions during the fourth year.

Results: The overall change in all areas related to the students' comfort level in treating patients in the 3 defined categories is in a positive direction (p-value<0.0001). The change was much higher among dental hygiene students compared with predoctoral dental students.

Conclusion: A comparison of pre- and post-session surveys reveals a significant improvement in students' perception of and comfort level with treating patients who are homosexual/bisexual or intravenous drug users, or who have a history of blood transfusion in both student groups upon completion of the HIV and the Dentist training program at LLUSD.

Keywords: blood transfusion; dental; dental hygiene; drug users; education; homosexuality; student.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Dental Hygienists / education*
  • Dental Hygienists / psychology*
  • Education, Dental / methods*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Oral Hygiene / education
  • Self Concept
  • Self-Assessment
  • Students, Dental / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires