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Oral hygiene habits and knowledge on oral manifestation of HIV/AIDS among patients attending the counselling and therapy centre at Temeke Hopital

Gemma Zacharia Berege
ENM Simon


The oral cavity is one of the sites where manifestations of HIV/AIDS commonly appear, The aim of this study therefore, was to determine oral hygiene habits and knowledge related to oral manifestations of HIV/AIDS among patients attending the Counselling and Therapy Centre at Temeke Hospital, Dar es Salaam. A cross sectional study was carried out from August to September 2005 whereby all patients with serological diagnosis of HIV aged 15 years or above were included. A structured questionnaire (in Kiswahili language) was used. After giving an informed verbal consent, the patients were interviewed in a consultation room of the CTC with only the researcher present.

One hundred and seventy five females and seventy-five males were interviewed. Oral thrush, oral mucosal and lip ulcerations were reported by 39.6% of the patients as being associated with HIV/AIDS. Dry mouth was reported by 1.6% and about 9.6% of the patients did not know at all any oral condition associated with HIV/AIDS. About 81% had never received oral health education and the media was reported by 9.6 % of the patients as their major source of oral health information. Two hundred and forty eight patients brushed at least once daily, 29.6% of whom did so to prevent oral malodour. Only 13 of the patients had ever visited a dental clinic. Over 76% of the visits were prompted by dental pain. About 78% thought that it was important for an HIV patient to inform the dental practitioner about his/her HIV status when visiting the dental clinic.

It is concluded that majority of the HIV/AIDS patients displayed relatively little knowledge related to oral manifestations of HIV/AIDS. The media was the main source of oral health information. Generally, the patients possessed good oral hygiene practices but utilization of oral health services was mainly symptomatic rather than preventive.

Tanzania Dental Journal Vol. 12(2) 2006: 42-49

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eISSN: 0856-0625