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University of Louisville dental school receives $2M grant to provide dental care for HIV/AIDS patients

August 24, 2016 Louisville, Ky. — The University of Louisville School of Dentistry announced in July it received $2 million in federal funding to continue providing comprehensive oral health care to underserved Kentuckians living with HIV/AIDS.

The two-year grant allows the university’s Community Based Dental Partnership Program to increase access to oral health care services for people living with HIV while providing education and clinical training for dental care providers, especially those practicing in community-based settings.

Dental care is one of the most common unmet needs for people living with HIV/AIDS in Kentucky, according to a news release.

“Patients who have issues with their teeth begin to limit the types of food they eat,” said Dr. Cathering Binkley, associate professor, department of surgical and hospital dentistry, and program director for the Ryan White Community Based Dental Partnership Program. “This can result in malnourishment, which in turn affects the absorption of HIV medications. The end effect is a more compromised immune system.”

In addition, social interactions can also be negatively affected by poor oral health.

“Patients with fractured or missing teeth all too often limit education and career seeking opportunities, as well as withdraw from friends and group scenarios,” Dr. Binkley said.

The dental school first received funding from the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch Ryan White Part B program for a six-month pilot in January 2014. Based on the success of the program, the school’s Community Based Dental Partnership Program received a $1.2 million two-year state contract in 2014-16, and received $2 million for 2016-18. Last year, the University of Louisville dental health care providers performed more than 6,000 procedures for nearly 600 HIV/AIDS patients.