To tell or not to tell

Why people with HIV share or don't share with their physicians whether they are taking their medications as prescribed

H. Kremer, Gail Ironson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This qualitative study examines whether HIV-positive people ( N = 79) tell their physicians whether they take antiretroviral treatment (ART) as prescribed and why. Interviews, analyzed with qualitative content-analysis, asked about taking/not taking ART and, if taking, whether they shared their reasons for non-adherence with their physician. Patients are more likely to inform physicians why they take than why they do not take ART (p < 0.01). Only half of those not taking ART shared the reasons for their decision with their physician. The six motives were: anticipation that physicians will not support the decision, cannot discuss feelings, lack of trust in physician's opinion, unable to discuss spiritual/moral issues, no need for physician to know, and not seen physician yet. Of those taking ART, 21% did not tell their physician why they missed doses. The five motives were: not viewed as important, physician not asking, not seen physician yet, rarely non-adherent, no indications in surrogate markers. A significant proportion of patients are not taking their medications as prescribed and are not telling their physicians. To facilitate the chance that patients communicate with their physicians, physicians need to ask and, while giving the patients medical information, create a non-judgmental, respectful atmosphere where patients feel comfortable sharing their personal view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-528
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

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medication
physician
HIV
Physicians
Therapeutics
Atmosphere
indication
content analysis
Emotions
Biomarkers
Interviews
lack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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abstract = "This qualitative study examines whether HIV-positive people ( N = 79) tell their physicians whether they take antiretroviral treatment (ART) as prescribed and why. Interviews, analyzed with qualitative content-analysis, asked about taking/not taking ART and, if taking, whether they shared their reasons for non-adherence with their physician. Patients are more likely to inform physicians why they take than why they do not take ART (p < 0.01). Only half of those not taking ART shared the reasons for their decision with their physician. The six motives were: anticipation that physicians will not support the decision, cannot discuss feelings, lack of trust in physician's opinion, unable to discuss spiritual/moral issues, no need for physician to know, and not seen physician yet. Of those taking ART, 21{\%} did not tell their physician why they missed doses. The five motives were: not viewed as important, physician not asking, not seen physician yet, rarely non-adherent, no indications in surrogate markers. A significant proportion of patients are not taking their medications as prescribed and are not telling their physicians. To facilitate the chance that patients communicate with their physicians, physicians need to ask and, while giving the patients medical information, create a non-judgmental, respectful atmosphere where patients feel comfortable sharing their personal view.",
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