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Study assesses dental students on bloodborne exposures

Fewer than half of dental school students showed “adequate knowledge of transmission and management” of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens according to a study appearing in the April issue of the Journal of Dental Education.

“Dental Students and Bloodborne Pathogens: Occupational Exposures, Knowledge, and Attitudes” [1] surveyed 220 students a U.S. dental school to assess bloodborne pathogens transmission management and exposure knowledge and the frequency of bloodborne pathogen exposures during training.

The study found adequate transmission knowledge in 47.5% of students, while only 37.3% of students showed adequate knowledge about the management of exposures.

The study also found that 8.2% of the “respondents acknowledged an unwillingness to perform procedures on patients with HIV.”

Such knowledge gaps “may lead to failure to report incidents and delays in appropriate exposure management and some negative attitudes towards treating individuals with HIV,” the study concludes.