SADA HIV Guidelines 2014

The proportion of South Africans infected with HIV has increased from 10.6% in 2008 to 12.2% in 2012, according to the Human Sciences research Council’s (HSrC) national HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey. The total number of infected South Africans now stands at 6.4-million; 1.2-million more than in 2008.

Dentists and other oral health care professionals have a critical role to play now more than ever in the national response to the HIV epidemic through the provision of quality oral health services.

Unfortunately for many patients, obtaining the proper oral health care they need is not as easy, especially for those living with HIV/AIDS. Many HIV positive patients still perceive that they are being discriminated and victimised and therefore do not attend to their regular oral health as they should.

The development of new therapies for management and treatment of HIV infection has provided renewed hope for HIV positive patients. Comprehensive dental care will become a routine part of their health care regime.

Early detection of oral conditions by oral healthcare professionals found in HIV positive patients will be critical in patients seeking early interventions and thus preventing costly treatment of complications of such illnesses.

The South African Dental Association produced these guidelines in 2014 to help build knowledge and skills required to provide an empathetic environment for the personal, social and health challenges faced by many individuals living with HIV/AIDS as well as any other communicable diseases. These guidelines although not absolute will assist the healthcare professional in the legal, ethical and clinical management of both personnel and patients on issues regarding HIV, AIDS and other infectious diseases.

It must be remembered that the law is fluid, and blanket guidance is neither available nor appropriate. The profession’s understanding of their ethical obligations is continually evolving and these guidelines must be read as such.

The South African Dental Association (SADA) would like to thank Professor Sudeshni Naidoo and Mr Punkaj Govan for the effort and time spent in producing this valuable guidelines for our members

Further information may be obtained from Mr Punkaj Govan on +27 (0)11 484 5288 or via email at pgpvan@sada.co.za

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