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Important Dental Update

November 11, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Have You Been to the Dentist Lately?

If you are living with HIV/AIDS, getting regular dental care is very important to maintaining your overall health!

  • There are more than 350 types of bacteria in your mouth. Because your immune system fights bacteria, having increased bacteria and infections in your mouth can be taxing to your immune system.
  • Persons with a weakened immune system are more prone to gum disease and cavities because of a their immune systems' ability to fight bacteria.
  • Many HIV medications cause dry mouth, which can lead to gum disease and cavities.
  • More than 90 percent of HIV patients will have at least one oral manifestation in the course of the disease.
  • People with compromised immune systems will generally have the first symptoms show up in their mouth, according to a study through UCLA.


What Programs Can Help You Pay for Dental Care?

There are some programs that may be able to help you pay for dental care, including Medicaid, private dental insurance, and Ryan White funds. Contact your case manager or local AIDS Organization to find out about resources in your area. If you live in King County, call the AIDS/HIV Care Access Project (ACAP) at 206 284-9277 to find out more about dental resources in King County. You can also e-mail ACAP at acap@whf.org.

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How Do You Find an HIV-Friendly Dentist?

Dentists are not allowed to discriminate against patients based on their HIV status. However, there are many dentists who specialize in treating persons living with HIV/AIDS. Contact your case manager or local AIDS Organization to find an HIV friendly dentist in your area. If you live in King County, call the AIDS/HIV Care Access Project (ACAP) at 206 284-9277. You can also e-mail ACAP at acap@whf.org.


A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Seattle Treatment Education Project. It is a part of the publication STEP Ezine.
 
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