Factors related to the willingness of Palestinian dentists to treat patients with blood-borne diseases
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This study aimed to explore, using groups of simulated patients, the willingness of Palestinian dentists to treat patients with blood-borne diseases. Simulated patients conducted a telephone survey of a random sample of dentists registered with the Palestinian Dental Association. A random system was used to assign dentists to one of two groups, in which simulated patients randomly identified themselves with either human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) and asked for a dental appointment. Three-hundred and four dentists (76%) responded to our telephone survey. Sixty-six per cent accepted requests for appointments and 34% declined the appointment requests. Sixty-eight per cent of the dentists declined appointment requests from patients with HIV and 32% declined appointments from patients with HBV. Dentist’s gender, ‘blood-borne disease type’, ‘place of private practice’, ‘country of graduation’ and ‘years since graduation’ were all significant predictors in the final logistic model. More than one-third of our respondents declined appointment requests from patients with blood-borne disease, two-thirds of which were for patients who identified themselves as having HIV. Education and training programmes are needed to improve attitudes of dentists – especially female dentists, older dentists and dentists practising in northern governorates – towards patients with bloodborne diseases.