Oral Health Findings for HIV-infected Adult Medical Patients from the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study
Published in: Journal of the American Dental Association, v. 136, no. 10, Oct. 2005, p. 1396-1405
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004
BACKGROUND: The HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS) was conducted by a consortium of private and government institutions centered at the RAND Corp. to provide national estimates of adult medical patients who are HIV-positive. This article presents descriptive oral health findings from that study. METHODS: The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) conducted four interviews of a nationally representative sample of adults with HIV who made a medical visit for regular care in early 1996. This article uses data from the second interview conducted between December 1996 and July 1997. The authors constructed analytical weights for each respondent so the 2,466 interviewees represented a population of 219,700. RESULTS: Most adult medical patients with HIV rated their oral health as at least good, but 12 percent (representing a population of 25,300) rated it as poor. Xerostomia was the most commonly reported symptom (37 percent) to arise in the time since the previous interview. Twenty-nine percent had a dental benefit under Medicaid and 23 percent had private insurance. Eighteen percent had not revealed their HIV status to the dentist they usually saw. CONCLUSIONS: National data on adult medical patients with HIV provide a context for local or convenience sample studies and can help give direction to public health and public policy programs directed to the oral health needs of this population. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The attitudes and beliefs of adult HIV patients should be taken into account in the creation of community health education programs and continuing education for dentists. Medicaid programs should include adult dental benefits.