Monday, February 7, 2011

Get Your HIV Test at the Dentist?

Did you know that you can get an HIV test in your dentist's office? Well you can, according to celebrity dentist, Dr. Catrise Austin, who was gracious enough to let me interview her on Super Bowl Sunday, minutes after the Green Bay Packers won. Below is an excerpt from the piece I wrote on Heart & Soul Magazine's website, which launched its AIDS page today - National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Do you know your status?

New HIV Testing Location? The Dentist’s Office

The next time you visit your dentist, you may want to request a rapid oral HIV test. If your dentist is Catrise Austin, D.D.S., you won’t even have to ask because her office offers the test to each of their patients at the beginning of their biannual hygiene appointments.

Since the results of the swab take only 20 minutes, the patients leave with their results the same day. A Crest brand ambassador whose clients include Toni Braxton, Wendy Williams and Common, Dr. Austin has the first private dental practice in the nation to get certified and trained to offer the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV test.

Heart & Soul: How common is it to find the HIV infection in an oral cavity?
Dr. Austin: From what I know, at least 90 percent of people living with HIV will develop symptoms like yeast in the mouth, canker sores and a thin red band around the gum line. The oral cavity is one of the first places where signs and symptoms of HIV will show up. So if I’m checking for cavities, gum disease and oral cancer, why wouldn’t I check for HIV, especially when the test is just a swab of the mouth, which is 99.4 percent accurate?

Read more at Heart & Soul.

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