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Open Access Open Badges Research article

People living with HIV /AIDS (PLWHA) and HIV/AIDS associated oral lesions; a study in Malaysia

Saad A Khan1*, Jayanthy Moorthy1, Hanan Omar1 and Syed Shahzad Hasan2

Author Affiliations

1 International Medical University, Jalan Jalil Perkasa 19, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, 57000, Malaysia

2 School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, 20 Cornwall Street,Woolloongabba, Brisbane, 4102, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:850  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-850

Published: 8 October 2012



The continuous increase in number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) represents a serious health and economic burden. HIV positive individuals with oral lesions have significantly lower oral health-related quality of life than HIV positive individuals without oral lesions. The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) within a cohort of HIV/AIDS positive patients towards HIV/AIDS associated oral lesions.


Two hundred seventy patients attending a national referral hospital of infectious disease in Malaysia were recruited for the study. The study involved the administration of a validated interview-based questionnaire designed to elicit knowledge, attitude and practices of these patients towards HIV associated oral lesions. The last part of the questionnaire assessed the training provided to the patients in relation to the oral lesions associated with the disease and the effectiveness of this training. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS version 18.


Thirty seven percent of patients were reported as knowledgeable, while sixty four percent reported to have positive attitude towards the care of oral hygiene. Sixty six percent of the patients reported that they would seek professional care when experiencing oral lesion. Training was reported effective for 93% patients.


Patients were non-knowledgeable in relation to oral manifestations of the disease and one third of the participating patients showed negative attitudes towards oral health care and reported various measures to manage oral lesions rather than seeking professional care. Developing effective educational methodologies can empower patients with knowledge that may translate to positive attitudes and practices.