UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Assessing patients’ attitudes to opt-out HIV rapid screening in community dental clinics: a cross-sectional Canadian experience Brondani, Mario; Chang, Steve; Donnelly, Leeann


Background: As a public health initiative, provided-initiated HIV screening test in dental settings has long been available in the U.S.; it was only in 2011 that such setting was used in Canada. The objective of this paper was to assess patients’ response to, and attitudes towards, an opt-out rapid HIV screening test in a dental setting in Vancouver, Canada. Methods A cross-sectional evaluation design using a self-complete survey questionnaire on self-perceived values and benefits of an opt-out rapid HIV screening was employed. An anonymous 10-item questionnaire was developed to explore reasons for accepting or declining the HIV rapid screening test, and barriers and facilitators for the HIV screening in dental settings. Eligible participants were male and female older than 19 years attending community dental clinics and who were offered the HIV screening test between June 2010 and February 2015. Results From the 1552 age-eligible patients, 519 completed the survey and 155 (10 %) accepted the HIV screening due to its convenience, and/or free cost, and/or instant results. From the 458 respondents who did not accept the screening, 362 (79 %) were between the ages of 25 and 45 years; 246 (53.7 %) had identifiable risk factors for contracting HIV; and 189 (41.3 %) reported having been tested within the last 3 months. Those tested in less than 3 months had 3.5 times higher odds to decline the HIV screening compared to those who have been tested between 3 months and 1 year. Conclusions Convenience, cost-free and readily available results are factors influencing rapid HIV screening uptake. Although dental settings remain an alternative venue for HIV screening from the patients’ perspectives, dental hygiene settings might offer a better option.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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