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Knowledge of and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS: a survey among dental students in Ajman, UAE

Authors


Abstract

Aim

Encounters between dentists and patients with HIV/AIDS are bound to rise due to increased prevalence and emerging new treatments. This study assessed dental students' knowledge about transmission and oral manifestations of HIV/AIDS, and their attitudes towards patients regarding obligations to treat.

Methods

Out of 109 students in 4 years of a 6-year dental undergraduate program, 106 responded to a questionnaire on knowledge of and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. Knowledge and attitude scores were analyzed with Kruskal–Wallis one-way anova and the gender differences with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results

The median score for students' overall knowledge was 39.5 (67%; maximum possible 59). The median knowledge scores for males and females were 38 and 40 respectively, although the difference was not statistically significant. The knowledge levels in Year 4 (42.5 ± 4.7), Year 3 (44 ± 6.5), and Year 2 (42 ± 5.8), were similar but significantly higher than in Year 1 (33 ± 7.9; P < 0.01). The median attitude score was 14 out of 24, with no significant differences within genders and years of study. Although the level of knowledge of the senior students was higher than that of the first years, the negative attitudes remained largely unchanged.

Conclusions

Appropriate educational programs may alter the misconceptions and the negative attitudes.

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