Utility of Theory to Explain Village Doctors’ Willingness to Treat People Living with HIV in Rural China

Jo Yun Li, Sayward Harrison, Shan Qiao, Xiaoming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Stigma against people living with HIV in China is common, not only among the general public but also among Chinese health-care providers, impacting their ability to provide quality HIV treatment and care. HIV stigma may be particularly common in rural areas of China, where village doctors (i.e., “barefoot doctors”) have limited medical training yet are charged with providing frontline care for much of China’s rural population. Therefore, the present study aims to use communication and behavioral theory to better understand Chinese village doctors’ beliefs about HIV, including their willingness to become involved in HIV treatment and care. In collaboration with the Behai Centers for Disease Control, we surveyed 228 village doctors in rural China to learn about their experiences in providing HIV treatment and care. We then applied a hybrid theoretical model, combining variables from the Situational Theory of Publics and the Theory of Reasoned Action, to explain providers’ communication, attitudes, and behaviors. Findings suggest that enhanced information activity about HIV may increase providers’ self-efficacy in caring for HIV patients and yield more positive attitudes towards caring for people living with HIV. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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