The Impact of HIV on Oral Health and Subsequent Use of Dental Services

Published in: Journal of Public Health Dentistry, v. 63, no. 2, Spring 2003, p. 78-84

by Aram Dobalian, Ronald Andersen, Judith Stein, Ron D. Hays, William Cunningham, Marvin Marcus

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined differences in health and access to dental services among a nationally representative sample of patients with HIV using Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Services Use. METHODS: This investigation is a longitudinal study that used structural equation modeling to analyze data from the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, a probability sample of 2,864 adults under treatment for HIV infection. Key predisposing variables included sex, drug use, race/ethnicity, education, and age. Enabling factors included income, insurance, and regular source of care. Need factors included mental, physical, and oral health. Dependent variables included whether a respondent utilized dental services and number of visits. RESULTS: More education, dental insurance, usual source of dental care, and poor oral health predicted a higher probability of having a dental visit. African Americans, Hispanics, those exposed to HIV through drug use or heterosexual contact, and those in poor physical health were less likely to have a dental visit. Of those who visited dental professionals, older persons, those with dental insurance, and those in worse oral health had more visits. African Americans and persons in poor mental health had fewer visits. CONCLUSIONS: Persons with more HIV-related symptoms and a diagnosis of AIDS have a greater need for dental care than those with fewer symptoms and without AIDS, but more pressing needs for physical and mental health services limit their access to dental services. Providers should better attend to the oral health needs of persons with HIV who are in poor physical and mental health.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.