Knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of PHC nurses with regard to oral HIV in Bisho district in Eastern Cape
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Primary Health Care Nurses play an important role in HIV care. HIV related oral manifestations have been present since the beginning of AIDS pandemic (Shiboski et al, 2009). There are studies that have shown 60 -70% of the HIV infected patients will have oral lesions, as the first sign of HIV infection (Lewis et al, 2000). Oral cavity screening has been neglected in the primary healthcare clinics (PHC) and in most primary health care facilities. The HIV related oral lesions have a negative impact on the health of patients and this could be managed at primary health care level. In developing countries like South Africa, where resources, such as laboratory tests are limited, the presence of HIV related oral disease can be used to �stage� HIV disease. The oral cavity has gained importance as an indicator of HIV infection. A simple visual oral assessment of the mouth can help early detection and a timeous referral could result in early medical intervention, and improved patient quality of life. There is a need for care, support and addressing stigma and discrimination for those living with HIV. The PHC nurses are crucial in optimal patient management through patient identification, education and early referral for professional care.