HIV 101: Do I Need to Tell My Dentist I’m HIV-Positive?

Everyone has questions when they find out they are positive. In this series of posts, here are several of the most common, plus straightforward answers to help you navigate this new life of yours.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

March 19 2014 10:39 AM ET UPDATED: April 21 2014 3:51 PM ET

All health care professionals use “universal precautions” to prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hep C to and from patients, according to Robert J. Frascino, MD, of the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. An expert for TheBody.com, Frascino says he’d recommend disclosing your status to your dentist, though, so that he or she could be on the lookout for HIV-specific problems in the mouth. “Health care professionals, including dentists, are trained to look for certain conditions more closely if they know you have an underlying medical problem, be that diabetes, cancer, HIV, or whatever,” he writes. “Why would you not advise your dentist of your HIV status? If you feel that dentist would discriminate against you for being HIV positive, that’s not the office you want to be treated in anyway, right? Being HIV-positive is not something to be ashamed of. It’s a viral illness.” The same is true for other health care providers: You don’t have to tell them, but it’s in your best interest and best health to do so.

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