Colorado: Dentist's Office Gives, Brings Smiles to Patients Living With HIV/AIDS
November 18, 2005
The Howard Dental Center (HDC) on Capitol Hill in Denver has been serving the dental needs of people with HIV/AIDS since 1994. Its name honors Dr. John Howard, a dentist who treated seropositive patients before his 1988 death from AIDS at age 55. Some of Howard's original patients still come to the clinic, where services are in such demand that newcomers face a three- to four-month wait.
At the clinic's office in the old Ralph Waldo Emerson grade school, 1420 Ogden St., the patients include men, women, a few children, gays and straights.
Ten years ago, HDC did only basic care, but as patients are living longer their dental needs are more comprehensive. Including follow-up care, HDC has more than 2,000 appointments a year. It receives federal funds, private donations and grants. The staff includes two dentists, a hygienist, a dental assistant and an executive director.
"It feeds your soul," said dentist Colleen Concepcion. "[The patients have] been through hell and back," said Sally Preston, who earned her dentist's degree at Harvard and is retired from private practice. "And they still hold their heads up high."
For more information, visit www.howarddental.org.
Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
11.12.2005; Gary Massaro
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.