Workshop highlights link between oral health and HIV/Aids
BALI, Indonesia: Significant progress in the battle against HIV/Aids has been made in recent years, to the point that the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has declared its intention to end this epidemic by 2030. In September, the eighth World Workshop on Oral Health and Disease in AIDS (WW8) took place in Bali, where a subsequent declaration emphasised the necessity of improving the current level of dental professionals’ knowledge in order to help achieve the aims of UNAIDS.
Six hundred and forty delegates from 36 different countries were present at the workshop, held from 13 to 15 September and chaired by Prof. Anwar Tappuni, reader and honorary consultant in oral medicine at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London. WW8 convened under the theme “Improving health and well-being” and focused particularly on the economic, demographic and social impacts of HIV/Aids in developing countries like Indonesia.
According to UNAIDS, though Aids-related deaths are decreasing on a global scale thanks to factors like the increased availability of antiretroviral therapy, the number of Aids-related deaths in Indonesia has risen by 60% since 2010. Furthermore, only 51% of those living with HIV in Indonesia are aware of their positive status.
The role of the dental professional in improving accessibility to health services for HIV-positive patients, as well as in reducing the stigma associated with the condition, was recognised to be of high importance at WW8. Furthermore, the clinical ability of dentists to identify oral lesions such as Kaposi’s sarcoma was given particular attention.”
“The oral cavity is often the presenting site for HIV/Aids, so dental professionals must be able to recognize the clinical signs,” Dr David Croser, member of the WW8 international organising committee, said in an interview with FDI World Dental Federation regarding the event.