Oral HIV knowledge of nursing staff at ARV clinics in the Johannesburg Metro District
Introduction: South Africa has an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 29.5%, in Gauteng province, the prevalence rate in women attending ante-natal clinic is 28.7% and in the Johannesburg Metro District, the prevalence rate is 41%. The early identification of HIV in the HIV positive well patient or HIV positive unwell patient can lead to the commencement of early intervention and treatment, thus resulting in a higher quality of life for the patient and lower treatment costs for the State. Aim: To determine the oral health knowledge, practices and treatment patterns of nurses at ARV clinics in Johannesburg Metro District. Materials and Methods: The study design was a convenient cross-sectional survey conducted between May 2014 and January 2015 in the Johannesburg Metro District. The study population comprised of nursing staff at ARV clinics in the Johannesburg Metro District. 147 questionnaires were distributed among the nurses that were in contact with the patients. Only 100 (n=147) questionnaires came back completed. The data collected was entered into Microsoft Excel and imported to STATA 13.1 to determine statistical significance using chi-squared test. A p-value was regarded significant if <0.05. Results: The results of the study depicted poor knowledge on oral manifestations of HIV/AIDS from the nursing staff at the ARV clinics in the district. Although 85% could describe the oral lesions found in the oral cavity and 66% perceived that they could identify Oral Candidiasis (OC), only 47% could correctly identify the lesion. 57% perceived knowing the condition associated with OC and only 46% correctly named the condition (p- value=0.001). Only two thirds of 43% of nurses could manage OC using drugs from the protocol accessible at the clinics, 25% referred and 32% did not know how to manage the OC (p-value=0.001). Only 40% (n=100) of the nurses referred patients for oral health promotion. Almost all the nurses (81%) indicated repeatedly that they need more training on oral health and oral health promotion. Conclusions: There is a need to include the oral manifestations of HIV in the nursing curriculum. Continued professional development should include Oral Health Promotion. Further research is needed to explore means of incorporating an oral health and disease module in the nursing curriculum.