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Keywords:

  • drug use;
  • epidemiology;
  • HIV;
  • oral health;
  • quality of life

Abstract –  Objectives:  Objective measures of dental diseases reflect only their clinical end-point. There is a need to use multidimensional measures of diseases that consider their psychosocial aspects and functional impact. The aim of this study is to compare the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) between a group of HIV-infected women and a similar group of at-risk HIV-uninfected women, and to investigate the role of potential confounding clinical oral health and behavioral factors.

Methods:  Our sample included HIV-infected women (87%) and women at risk for HIV infection (13%) followed up for 5.5 years. OHRQOL was measured using the short version of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14), which is a validated and reliable instrument.

Results:  HIV-infected women averaged 10% poorer OHRQOL than HIV-uninfected women; this difference was not apparent after adjusting for the number of study visits attended and significant behavioral and clinical oral health factors. The OHRQOL was inversely related to dental and periodontal diseases and to smoking and freebase cocaine use; these relationships were not confounded by HIV status.

Conclusions:  The study identified specific clinical and behavioral factors where dental professionals can intervene to possibly improve the OHRQOL of HIV-infected or at-risk HIV-uninfected women.