INTRODUCTION : Oral pseudomembranous candidiasis
(OPC) is commonly associated with immunosuppression
caused by HIV/AIDS and TB infections. The knowledge
and beliefs about OPC among traditional health practitioners
in South Africa are not well explored.
PURPOSE : To investigate this concern.
METHODS : A cross-sectional descriptive survey was
conducted in the rural Vhembe district of the Limpopo
Province. Data were collected from 427 traditional health
practitioners who were to attend training workshops
on HIV/AIDS and TB diseases. An open-ended semistructured
questionnaire with an A4 colour picture of
oral pseudomembranous candidiasis was presented to
assess their previous exposure to, and their knowledge
and beliefs about, the etiology and management of OPC.
FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION : Only thirteen percent correctly
identified the lesion. More than 64% were uncertain on
etiology, and 24% blamed witchcraft and supernatural
powers. Almost two thirds (60%) were confused about the
relationship between HIV/AIDS and OPC lesions.
The belief that witchcraft and ancestors could cause
OPC could increase the risk of HIV infections and result in
delays in seeking treatment. The outcomes of this study
should be incorporated in the training of the traditional
health practitioners on oral signs and symptoms of HIV/