Nigerian dental technology students and human immunodeficiency virus infection: knowledge, misconceptions and willingness to care
Background: The rehabilitative dental care is important for maintaining adequate nutrition, guarding against wasting syndrome and malnutrition among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)‑infected individuals.
Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the Nigerian dental technology students’ knowledge and misconceptions about HIV infection and their willingness to care for HIV‑infected patients.
Subjects and Methods: This descriptive cross‑sectional study of dental technology students of Federal School of Dental Therapy and Technology Enugu, Nigeria was conducted in 2010. Data was subjected to descriptive, non‑parametric and parametric statistics using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 (Chicago Illinois, USA). P < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: The knowledge about the mode of HIV transmission and prevention among the respondents was high with some misconceptions. Specifically, the misconceptions about HIV transmission through a mosquito bite (P = 0.02) and shaking of hands (P = 0.03) were higher among respondents in the higher class than those in lower class. However, 10.6% (21/198), 6.1% (12/198) and 4.0% (8/198) of the respondents erroneous described HIV as harmless, self‑limitation and antibiotics responsive infection respectively. Of the respondents, 78.8% (156/198) and 83.3% (165/198) of them expressed willingness to care for HIV‑infected patients and expressed need for training in the clinical care of HIV‑infected patients respectively. Overall, the respondents opined that the dental therapists are the most suitable dental professional to pass HIV‑related information to patients in the dental setting ahead of dentists and dental surgery assistants.
Conclusion: The expressed willingness to care for HIV‑infected patients, knowledge about the mode of HIV transmission and prevention among the respondents were high with existent misconceptions. There were no significant differences in the knowledge about HIV infection and willingness to care for HIV‑infected patients among respondents in the lower class and those in upper class.
Keywords: Care, Dental technology students, Human immunodeficiency virus‑infected patients, Knowledge, Misconceptions, Willingness