Infection control knowledge and practices related to HIV among Nigerian dentists
BACKGROUND: Many diseases including HIV/AIDS can be transmitted in the dental setting when effective infection control procedures are ignored. The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the infection control knowledge and practices of Nigerian dentists in the era of HIV/AIDS. METHODOLOGY: Information on knowledge of transmission of HIV, occupational vulnerability, infection control practices, and opinion on adequacy of infection control facilities were gathered from dentists through a self-administered questionnaire. Knowledge was assessed on a total score of 20 questions. RESULTS: Only 3.6% of the dentists had poor knowledge. Younger males and dentists working in teaching hospitals had significantly better knowledge than their counterparts. While 40.8% believed HIV could be transmitted through saliva, only 43.2% knew it could be transmitted through the conjunctiva. Most (93.2%) wore gloves routinely and the most common barrier to glove use was non-availability. Most (79.2%) used autoclaves for sterilization; however, chemical disinfectants and boiling were also used. The majority (72.4%) believed the facilities for infection control in their centres were inadequate. Close to half of the respondents (47.6%; n = 118) rated the occupational risk of becoming infected with HIV as high. CONCLUSION: The results of this study have shown that while the level of knowledge of the dentists was generally acceptable, there were still some misconceptions on the transmission and occupational vulnerability of HIV. It also indicates only partial compliance with recommended infection control procedures among Nigerian dentists as a result of inadequate supplies.