Acceptability of oral rapid HIV testing at dental clinics in communities with high HIV prevalence in South Florida

Bradley, Erin L. P.; Vidot, Denise C.; Gaul, Zaneta; Sutton, Madeline; Pereyra, Margaret Rose

Expanding HIV screening for populations at risk necessitates testing in nontraditional settings. We assessed HIV testing in dental clinics in South Florida, an urban area with the highest rates of HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2015.

We explored patients’ acceptance of oral HIV rapid tests administered by dental providers and identified reasons for accepting or declining HIV testing.

During 2014 and 2015, dentists and hygienists at two federally qualified health center (FQHC) dental clinics who serve racial/ethnic minority patient populations in South Florida were trained to administer oral HIV rapid tests as a part of a routine dental visit. Patients presenting for dental services were offered a rapid HIV test and brief survey regarding their demographics, HIV testing history and behaviors.

We enrolled 600 patients (median age = 43 years; IQR: 29–56 years), 45% non-Hispanic black and 35% Hispanic/Latino, 83% graduated high school, and 50% unemployed. Most (85%) accepted oral HIV rapid testing (none tested HIV-positive); 14% had never been tested for HIV. The most common reasons for testing were a desire to know HIV status (56%) and free testing (54%). Among 93 (15%) patients who declined testing, 58% were tested recently and 31% felt confident that they were HIV-negative; however, 74 (80%) who declined testing said they would feel comfortable discussing HIV prevention with their dentist. Additionally, 290 of 600 patients (48%) reported condomless vaginal or anal sex in the past 6 months. Further, among 119 patients who had condomless sex with an HIV-positive partner and/or one whose HIV status was unknown, 98 (82%) accepted the oral HIV test.

Dental clinics may provide expanded opportunities for oral HIV rapid testing and conversations about HIV prevention in high HIV prevalence communities.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Published Here
April 30, 2018