Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
TAMI-MAURY, Irene; AGUERO, Miguel and ESTUPINAN-DAY, Saskia. Pilot study of oral health policy and HIV. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.6, pp. 536-540. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009001200009.
OBJECTIVE: To obtain and evaluate information on national oral health policies regarding patients with HIV/AIDS in the countries of the Americas. METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted using an online questionnaire designed to be completed by the national oral health officials in the Region. RESULTS: Of the 38 countries that were asked to participate, only 12 (31.6%) completed the questionnaire. Of these 12, eight (66.7%) reported having national policies and strategies in place to promote oral health for the HIV/AIDS patient. Areas of study most explored by the countries over the last 5 years have been: (a) infection control practices; (b) the prevalence of HIV/AIDS-related oral lesions; (c) discrimination toward the HIV-positive patient during dental consultation; and, (d) dental coverage for infected individuals. Among the needs reported by the national officials of this sector were: increasing knowledge of good infection-control practices and HIV advances, development of forums for exchanging ideas and holding online discussions, and having access to information on sources of funding for studies and projects. CONCLUSIONS: Despite increased HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence in the Americas, in general, there do not seem to be any model policies, strategies, or programs that address the issue of oral health and HIV infection. Establishing effective communication between dental health researchers and policymakers is imperative to confronting this epidemic, which increasingly requires more from the highly-trained dental professionals who offer quality of life to the affected population.
Keywords : Legislation, health; dentistry; health policy; oral health; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HIV; Americas.