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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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AIDS Patients Cite Stigma, Depression

Many HIV/AIDS Patients Haven’t Disclosed Their Health Status to Partners, Survey Finds

Moving Past the Stigma

The findings represent a “global call to action to encourage more individualized patient-physician dialogue to ensure that patients’ personal needs, past health history, and current medical status are considered, as well as quality-of-life issues,” says another of the researchers, Jose M. Zuniga, PhD, president and CEO of the Chicago-based International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, or IAPAC. “Expanding patient-physician conversations to include all aspects of a patient’s well-being is crucial for long-term survival and positive treatment outcomes.”

Regarding antiretroviral therapy, 43% of respondents say they have missed at least one dose in the past month, and forgetfulness was cited as the most common reason.

Jean Nachega, MD, PhD, of the ATLIS 2010 Task Force, says varying levels of adherence to drug regimens across geographic regions may be due in part to limitations in health literacy.

“This critical issue requires educational, behavioral, and clinical interventions that will increase literacy about treatment adherence and HIV drug resistance to help people attain optimal adherence levels, which are crucial for achieving and maintaining treatment success,” says Nachega, a professor of medicine at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

The survey covers people in the United States, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, Korea, South Africa, and Ivory Coast.

Interviews were conducted with 2,035 HIV-positive men and women.

The survey was funded by Merck & Co., which operates in many countries as Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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