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Compassionate care providers help HIV patients start and remain in treatment longer: Study

ANI | Updated: Jul 15, 2019 21:33 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], July 15 (ANI): Everybody loves to be surrounded by compassionate people around, more so when a person is suffering from HIV, says a recent study.
Adults with HIV are more likely to continue with life-saving treatments if their primary health care providers show respect, unconditional empathy without judgment and demonstrate an ability to partner with patients in decision making to address their goals, the study suggests.
The study published in the journal of 'Joanna Briggs Institute Database of Systematic Reviews' showed that the complexity of the illness, treatment regimen, and overall healthcare system frequently overwhelms the patient and fear of stigma often prevents them from the beginning or continuing treatment.
The researchers found that patients need help in understanding their illness and care needs using understandable language to translate complex information, letting patients know what to expect and reinforcing that HIV is now a treatable, yet complex and chronic illness.
"Today, HIV is considered a chronic, treatable condition. However, this study found that many patients continue to view it as a death sentence," said Andrea Norberg, lead author of the study.
The researchers included 41 studies published from 1997 to 2017. The sample populations included adults with HIV and their healthcare providers.
All adults with HIV were between the ages of 18 and 65, represented diverse races and ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. The studies had 1,597 participants.
They found that many patients experience stigma and a lack of compassion that is often grounded in primary care providers' ignorance about HIV and transmission risks.
The resulting poor communication between healthcare providers and patients results in many patients' failure to seek or remain in care and adhere to antiretroviral therapy medications.
The researchers also found that patients were more inclined to adhere to HIV treatment when their primary care providers showed empathy, true listening, trust, consideration of the whole person and involvement in decision making.
However, many patients reported that healthcare providers viewed care only as "prescribing antiretroviral therapy medicine."
The researchers noted that healthcare providers who help patients navigate the health system, offer the one-stop location of services and provide connections to psychological support, health insurance, medicine, transportation, and other services, can help their patients stay engaged in care. (ANI)