Communication Between HIV Patients and Their Providers: A Qualitative Preference Match Analysis

Bob C. Mulder*, Merel A. A. van Lelyveld, Sigrid C. J. M. Vervoort, Anne Marike Lokhorst, Cees M. J. van Woerkum, Jan M. Prins, Marijn de Bruin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Since the introduction of cART (combination antiretroviral therapy), HIV has evolved into a chronic disease such that it requires lifelong medical treatment to which patients must adhere. Communication with health care providers is pivotal in supporting patients to adapt to having HIV and adhering to treatment, in order to maintain health and quality of life. Previous research indicates that communication is optimal when it matches patient preferences for information exchange, relationship establishment, and involvement in treatment decisions. The aim of the present study is to explore HIV patient communication preferences as well as patient experiences with their providers (not) matching their preferences. A second aim is to explore provider beliefs about patient preferences and provider views on optimal communication. Data were collected through interviews with 28 patients and 11 providers from two academic hospitals. Results indicate that patient preferences reflect their cognitive, emotional, and practical needs such that patients look to increase their sense of control over their HIV. Patients aim to further increase their sense of control (by proxy) through their relationship with their providers and through their decisional involvement preferences. Providers are well aware of patient communication preferences but do not explicate underlying control needs. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

We thank the HIV nurses and physicians from the two HIV clinics involved in this study (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam; Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam) for their input and collaboration. We also express our gratitude to the participating patients. Finally, we thank Nicolette Strik-Mulder for her help with transcribing the audio recordings.

This study was funded by ZonMw (the Netherlands), program “Doelmatigheidsonderzoek” (grant 171002208). This funding source had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, or writing of the report.


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