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Empathetic Health Care Providers Drive Successful HIV Treatment

Want to make a difference when it comes to encouraging patients with HIV to start and stay in treatment? Show compassion and a lack of judgment, a new study finds. 

A team of investigators at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center at Rutgers School of Nursing in Newark, New Jersey, conducted a systematic review of 41 studies encompassing 1597 adults with HIV that were published in the US between 1997 and 2017. They discovered that a “confirming relationship” is paramount, with respondents wanting respect, compassion, and to be seen as a whole person. Patients who were treated paternalistically, or who experienced bumpy transitions, such as being released from prison without adequate coordination of health care services, were less likely to seek treatment and more likely to discontinue once started.

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