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J Law Ethics Dent. 1991;4:32-6.

Psychosocial aspects of treating the HIV-infected dental patient.

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Infectious Disease Center, Temple University School of Dentistry.


As the number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive individuals and persons diagnosed with clinical acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) increases, dentists will find it increasingly difficult either to avoid caring for this group of patients or to justify referral. While clinical management alone has posed a new role for dentistry in the HIV epidemic, the psychosocial dimensions of patient care are presenting even more challenging difficulties for the profession. General dentists, especially, have heretofore not faced the need to address the special needs of patients known to have terminal infectious disease. Treating HIV-seropositive and AIDS patients will produce psychosocial difficulties normally not encountered by the dental team. There is a need to understand the psychosocial issues affecting the patient as well as the dental provider, in order to implement changes in our educational approach to future patient management.

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