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December 1 is World AIDS Day, and a recent study has found a troubling statistic involving dentistry and this disease. Research conducted by the Williams Institute found that one in 20 Los Angeles dentists still have a policy to refuse to treat HIV positive patients, suggesting that there is a still a great deal of discrimination and a lack of understanding about the virus.
According to researchers, there's no reason for dental professionals to fear contract the infection by treating HIV positive patients, since dentists should be following the same safety precautions for all individuals who sit in their chair, which is to assume that everyone could potentially have a blood-borne disease.
"The same standard infection control precautions should be used with all patients and every patient should be treated as if they had a blood borne disease. Thus, every dental office should be equipped to treat HIV-positive patients," said researcher Fariba Younai.
Hopefully, as countries continue to work together to raise awareness and find potential cures for this disease, HIV patients will not be denied dental care.
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