A new study has highlighted that if HIV patients are attended with compassion and unconditional empathy, they are more likely to continue longer, life-saving treatments.
The findings published in the journal 'Joanna Briggs Institute Database of Systematic Reviews' showed that patients need help in understanding their illness and care needs through an understandable or easy language to translate complex information.
"Today, HIV is considered a chronic, treatable condition. However, this study found that many patients continue to view it as a death sentence," said lead author Andrea Norberg.
Norberg added that their "challenge is to reach those people diagnosed with HIV and who are not retained or engaged in ongoing care."
For the study, researchers included 41 studies published between 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.
Whereas, their healthcare providers included physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers and others, making a total of 1597 participants.
Findings from the study indicated that many patients experienced stigma and a lack of compassion that is often grounded in primary care providers' ignorance about HIV and transmission risks.
The poor communication between providers and patients results in many patients' failure to seek or remain in care and adhere to antiretroviral therapy medications.
Patients reported feeling "grilled" by providers who often assumed they were not taking medications.
Researchers 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.
"Providers should use common language, not medical jargon, to educate patients about HIV, medications and how they can live a healthy life," Norberg said.
"They should thoroughly teach them about the disease, the medications and side effects, and the meaning of the tests," Norberg added.
The researchers noted that providers who help patients navigate the health system, offer 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.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)