The oral research community needs an understanding of the social causes, consequences, and costs of disease in relation to oral health. This workshop concluded that HIV infection constitutes a special dental need requiring specific arrangements to facilitate oral care for infected persons. Oral manifestations of HIV infection affect everyday life, but more evidence is needed on the effects of interventions to alleviate these impacts. Other oral health habits add to the burden of HIV/AIDS-associated oral diseases and compete with them for resources. These problems are most acute where the prevalence of HIV is high and resources are scarce. Effective health promotion is therefore important in these areas. Without data on the utility of oral health care in developing countries, practical approaches are guided by societal and multidisciplinary principles. There are also important ethical considerations.