HealthLinks Charleston Sept/Oct 2022

www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com | 53 Dental visits are so routine and such a normal part of living that it is easy to think of them as universal for everybody – unless you are compromised by money, lack of health insurance, a limited supply of providers or a severely compromised immune system. In an effort to eliminate these factors in the Charleston area, the new Ryan White Dental Clinic at Roper St. Francis Healthcare seeks not only to serve people who are underinsured but also to care for HIV/AIDS patients who could potentially die from a regular dental checkup. “People living with HIV/AIDS can have severely compromised immune systems,” said Dr. Tawana Philpott Brown, the clinic’s program director. “The mouth is a gateway for infections that can escalate to other opportunistic infections which can harm other organs if not treated.” Opening in December 2021, the clinic now operates as the only sexual health one-stop-shop primarily serving the tri-county area of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties for people living with HIV. SUPPORTING DENTAL HEALTH FOR PATIENTS WITH HIV By L. C. Leach III