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

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

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

Yes, it's hard to disclose, even to our doctors.


There were some stigmatizing stories in the 1990s about people living with HIV being turned away by dentists, so the fear of disclosure with dentists is still enough to keep some poz folks from seeing one (that and the scary drill).  Things have changed though.

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 the late Robert J. Frascino, MD, of the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. 

An expert for, Frascino told us before his passing that he’d recommend disclosing your status to your dentist, 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 wrote. 

“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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Diane Anderson-Minshall