According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.1 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, and almost 1 in 5 (18.1%) don’t know it.
Because even though it’s been more than 30 years since the world-at-large was introduced to the term HIV, many people still believe that the face of HIV can’t possibly look like them! If more people realized that HIV does not discriminate, I suspect that HIV stats would be much lower by now. You see, HIV does not care if you are young, old, rich or poor. It simply doesn’t care about your race, gender, attractiveness, car, marital status, job type, etc.
HIV does NOT discriminate!
So, here’s what I’ve come up with to help lower HIV infection rates…
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Did you know that the mouth is one of several places where early signs and symptoms of HIV infection can be detected?
HIV infection can appear as a yeast infection in the mouth, a white hairy-looking growth on the side of the tongue. There is also a distinct type of HIV gingivitis found in the mouth as well. Due to these two facts, I recognized years ago that dentists have a unique opportunity to help screen for HIV and let people know their status by simply incorporating rapid HIV testing into their routine oral health checks.
In 2009, I partnered with the New York State Department of Health to become the dental industry leader in this crusade and became the first private practice dentist in the United States to offer the OraQuick ADVANCE® test.
That’s right! Now, when you visit the dentist for a regular check up and cleaning, you can learn both your cavity/gum disease status and your HIV status, too. How cool is that?
Here’s how HIV testing works in our dental office: