HIV and Care
of the Teeth and Gums
Many things in the world have changed since Where There Is No Dentist
was first published in 1983. One of the most profound changes has been
the spread of HIV and AIDS worldwide. Although millions of people are now
infected with HIV, the illness is still surrounded by fear and disinformation.
This chapter explains HIV and AIDS, what they mean for people who are
infected and for oral health workers, and how we can all work together to
prevent the spread of HIV.
For people with HIV, good
dental care can mean the
difference between living
If a person with HIV has a
clean and healthy mouth,
he or she will be able to eat
well, be stronger, feel better,
and live longer.
Mary and David
Mary was 17 years old. She and her boyfriend David were expecting a baby.
David was Mary’s first boyfriend and he was very attentive and kind to
her. But David had not been well lately. His mouth had been very sore and
smelled bad all the time. Although he did not seem to have problems with
his teeth, it was hard to chew or swallow, and white spots appeared on
the roof of his mouth. Mary thought he should go to see the dental worker
at the health center. At first David refused. He said he did not want to talk
about it in a nervous voice. Finally David agreed to go if Mary would go too.
David said he wanted to see the dental worker by himself. So Mary sat in
the waiting room while David saw the dental worker.