Beliefs and Perceptions about HIV Infection/AIDS among Adults Attending a Dental Clinic At The Lagos University Teaching Hospital

  • O O Sanu
  • A O Bamgbala
  • F O Olajobi


One hundred and thirty eights adults were interviewed by means of semi-structured questionnaires in the Oral Diagnosis Clinic of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital [LUTH], Lagos, Nigeria, about their perceptions and beliefs about HIV infections and AIDS. Emphasis was laid on how the infection could be acquired in situations related to the oral environment and during dental procedures. The findings revealed that 92.8% of the respondents believe that HIV infection does exist in Nigeria but only 55.0% claimed they have seen AIDS patients. Some admitted that they have seen them on the television. Over 90% of the respondents knew an individual can get infected through blood and blood products and through injections [94.9% and 94.2% respectively]. About one-third [31.9%] erroneously believed saliva could be a means by which one can be get infected, 57.2% of the respondents believed infection could be by using the same toothbrush or chewing stick and 19.6% believed that the infection could be contacted by using the same cutlery or cup. Ninety seven percent believed that people can protect themselves from having the infection by various means including avoiding sharing of needles [93.5%], mutual fidelity with a single sexual partner [89.1%], and use of condoms [89.9%]. Those with higher level of education showed better knowledge generally than those with lower level of education. However, in spite of the higher correlation with formal education, some misconceptions still existed in all groups. The differences for those with higher and lower levels of education were however not statistically significant. It was concluded that awareness of HIV infection and AIDS is a high among adults attending the Oral Diagnosis Clinic, LUTH, Lagos. However, knowledge of the modes of transmission of HIV infection and AIDS should be improved and should be targeted at those with none or minimal level of formal education.

NQJHM Vol. 14 (1) 2004: pp. 11-16

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