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KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PERCEPTION OF PATIENTS VISITING THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI DENTAL HOSPITAL REGARDING HIV CROSS INFECTION CONTROL IN DENTISTRY

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ABSTRACT
Patients should have adequate knowledge and positive attitude and perception towards HIV
cross infecti,on control in dentistry and they should question the absence of protective
measures. However, information on this is scarce hence the study to fill the gap.
Since the advent of HIV/AIDS, dental practice has undergone great change due to fear of
cross infection. The use of sterilization methods as well as protective barriers such as
gloves, masks and spectacles has increased in some medical facilities butthere is widespread
laxity in cross infection control resulting in low public trust in cross infection control
standards.
The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the knowledge, attitude and
perception of patients visiting the university of Nairobi dental hospital regarding HIV crossinfection
control in dentistry.
The study was conducted using questionnaires with both open-ended and closed-ended
questions. 222 questionnaires were administered during the month of August 2005, and 187
completed questionnaires were returned for analysis.I87 respondents (54% females and 46%
males) of ages 18 to 76 years were included in the study on the basis of informed consent.
Our results indicated that 40.1% of the respondents were attending their first appointment in a
dental health facility; while 59.9% have a history of previous dental visits. 79.2% of the
respondents resided within Nairobi province, while 14.8% of the respondents resided in
Eastern, Coast, Rift valley and Central provinces. 70% of the respondents had attained
primary school education while 59% had attained secondary school education
Fear of HIV cross infection was high, with 58.8% of the respondents reporting a strong fear
of HIV cross infection from the dental setup.12.8% of the respondents had failed to seek
dental treatment due to this fear. Patient knowledge on procedures via which HIV cross
infection can occur was variable. Knowledge on the use of protective barriers demonstrated
this, with 80.7% of the respondents perceiving protection in the use of gloves, while 19.3%
and 16.3% perceived protection in the use of masks and protective eyewear respectively.
Efforts to enforce good cross infection control standards in the country would therefore be
enhanced by public education campaigns on safe dental practises by empowering patients to
demand these standards in both public and private clinics.

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