Term of Award

Spring 1992

Degree Name

Master of Health Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Sandy Streater

Committee Member 1

Emma T. Simon

Committee Member 2

Robert J. Kennedy

Abstract

The majority of Americans view AIDS as the most important health problem faced today. Despite efforts to educate the public, the literature suggests that misperceptions exist concerning HIV transmission. The documented case of a Florida dentist who transmitted the HIV virus to five dental patients focused the public's attention on its perceived vulnerability to contracting HIV during a dental visit. The purpose' of this descriptive study was to identify the dental patient's perceived risk of acquiring the AIDS virus during a dental visit and to then determine whether the perceived risk was related to the patient's level of oral hygiene. A convenience sample of 105 dental patients was assessed for level of oral hygiene and then completed a 25-item close-ended questionnaire. The results indicated that significant relationships existed between the patient's cumulative perceived risk of acquiring HIV during a dental visit and cumulative knowledge about the disease and education level. There was borderline significance in the relationship between perceived risk and level of oral hygiene.

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