Purpose: The present study aimed to assess the current situation of Chinese dental bachelor interns on HIV/AIDS-related knowledge and their attitudes towards HIV/AIDS patients.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional, paper-based survey involving 147 dental students from three Chinese dental schools was conducted. Students were recruited to complete the questionnaire regarding their knowledge, awareness and attitudes concerning HIV/AIDS anonymously and voluntarily.
Results: A total of 144 students responded to the study, generating a response rate of 98.0%. Although 97.0% of the dental students believed dentists were at high risk of HIV infection, 97.2% of students expressed no prejudice towards HIV/AIDS patients and stated their willingness to provide oral healthcare service for such patients. No statistically significant differences in the responses on attitudes and some basic knowledge were found between students who had received the relevant education about infection control and the students who had not. However, regarding most questions about oral manifestations in adult and paediatric patients living with AIDS, the students who received relevant education showed more knowledge than the students who did not (p <0.05). The cognitive level about respecting HIV/AIDS patients' autonomy and privacy was generally low in all the students.
Conclusions: Most of the dental students in this survey held positive attitudes towards HIV/AIDS patients and good grasp of some basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, the questionnaire results reflected gaps in education, such as respecting HIV/AIDS patients' privacy.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS; attitude; dental students; knowledge.