The knowledge and attitudes of dental patients in the UK and Hong Kong towards aspects of cross-infection control have been surveyed. Almost all patients expected dentists to wear protective gloves but only 73% and 40% expected dental staff to wear protective face masks and spectacles respectively. Most patients were aware that such measures were for the benefit of both dental staff and patients. Just over 50% of patients believed that they could contact HIV from an HIV-infected dentist. UK and Cantonese patients had generally similar attitudes to cross-infection protection, but the latter were positively influenced by the routine use of masks and spectacles and were more concerned about HIV transmission than UK patients.