Perceived Unmet Need for Oral Treatment Among a National Population of HIV-positive Medical Patients

Social and Clinical Correlates

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 90, no. 7, July 2000, p. 1059-1063

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2000

by Marvin Marcus, James Freed, Ian D. Coulter, Claudia Der-Martirosian, William Cunningham, Ronald Andersen, Isabel Garcia, Donald A. Schneider, William R. Maas, Samuel A. Bozzette, et al.

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OBJECTIVES: This study examines social, behavioral, and clinical correlates of perceived unmet need for oral health care for people with HIV infection. METHODS: Baseline in-person interviews with 2864 individuals were conducted with the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study cohort, a nationally representative probability sample of HIV-infected persons in medical care. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted, with unmet need in the last 6 months as the dependent variable and demographic, social, behavioral, and disease characteristics as independent variables. RESULTS: The authors estimate that 19.3% of HIV-infected medical patients (n = 44,550) had a perceived unmet need for dental care in the last 6 months. The odds of having unmet dental needs were highest for those on Medicaid in states without dental benefits (odds ratio [OR] = 2.21), for others with no dental insurance (OR = 2.26), for those with incomes under $5000 (OR = 2.20), and for those with less than a high school education (OR = 1.83). Low CD4 count was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Perceived unmet need was related more to social and economic factors than to stage of infection. An expansion of dental benefits for those on Medicaid might reduce unmet need for dental care.

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