NEAETC co-sponsoring 31st Oral Health & HIV Symposium May 1

April 24, 2015

Making HIV testing a routine part of oral health care is one topic that will be discussed at the 31st Oral Health & HIV Symposium co-sponsored by UMass Medical School’s New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC). The symposium will take place May 1 at the Back Bay Event Center in Boston.

“The symposium is an opportunity for oral health professionals to get the latest and greatest information around oral health and HIV so they can integrate it into their practices,” said Vanessa Sasso, MSW, senior project director at NEAETC, a program within Commonwealth Medicine’s Center for Health Policy and Research.

Implementing rapid testing for HIV and Hepatitis C during dental visits is the subject of a presentation by Jennifer Webster, DDS, PhD, associate professor in the School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A rapid HIV test can be done during a routine dental visit using oral fluid, a finger-stick sample of blood or plasma. Results may be ready in 20 minutes.

Several speakers are scheduled to discuss a variety of other topics related to oral health and HIV at the symposium, which is co-sponsored by The Forsyth Institute and Boston Public Health Commission.

  • Dr. Webster also will share research into HIV periodontal inflammation in a separate presentation, Down in the Mouth.
  • Howard Libman, MD, director of the HIV Program in Healthcare Associates at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and clinical director of NEAETC, will give a Medical Update about treating people with HIV as it relates to oral health care.
  • Daniel Church, MPH, an epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, will review the epidemiology of HIV and describe what it is like to live with HIV and Hepatitis C when he presents Hepatitis C Infection & Screening.
  • Helene Bednarsh, BS, RDH, MPH, director of the HIV Dental Ombudsperson Program at the Boston Public Health Commission, will focus on the HIV care continuum, linking new cases of care and viral suppression on a national model care continuum, in Linkage, Adherence and Retention. She will explain how the dental team can play a vital role in the care continuum.
  • Kathy Eklund, RDH, MHP, director of occupational health and safety and patient advocate at The Forsyth Institute, will instruct dental professionals on infection control and ways to minimize their risk in her presentation, Exposure Prevention & Post Exposure Management.

NEAETC, one of 11 regional centers and four national centers, trains thousands of health care professionals on the latest HIV developments in six states every year. NEAETC has received continuous funding since its inception in 1988 from grants through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration.

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