Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Study: 1 Out of 20 Dentists in Los Angeles County Will Not Treat HIV Positive Patients

I am actually really surprised that the number is so high.
A new study released today by the Williams Institute found that five percent of dental offices in Los Angeles County have a blanket policy of refusing dental services to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

The study also found that an additional 5% of dental providers would treat PLWHA differently than other patients in ways that could potentially violate anti-discrimination laws.  Examples of such different treatment include only providing the most basic of services to PLWHA, such as a cleaning, or only treating them on certain days of the week or in an isolated room.

“Thirty years into the epidemic, HIV-positive patients continue to face discrimination when accessing dental care,” says study co-author Brad Sears, Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law and Executive Director of the Williams Institute.  “While it is definitely encouraging that 90% of dentists in Los Angeles County do treat HIV-positive patients, it is likely that the rate of discrimination is higher in other parts of the country.”
Universal precautions (standard precautions, today) in dentistry have been adopted practice for decades now and there is really no reason not to treat these patients.

I mean, how do you really know who is HIV positive anyway? You treat all patients the same and these patients can be treated safely and effectively.

The full report is here.

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