HIV/AIDS Symptoms in Men: Fear-Anxiety-Depression Become Reality
HIV/AIDS. For those who have it, and those who don’t know yet, those engaging in at risk behavior, and gay and bisexual men, the words fear, anxiety and depression are omnipresent in their minds on a daily basis.
Living with HIV/AIDS, or even the threat of HIV/AIDS conjures up multiple scenarios, most often treatment options.
There are many treatment options available for persons infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, and more are being researched and developed each day. Mortality rates for AIDS patients have dropped considerably as successfully administered treatment therapies gain prominence.
But these advances have lagged behind for one group of people: Ethnic minorities.
Positive outcomes for all persons infected with the HIV virus, regardless of ethnicity, are possible, and new research is supporting that claim.
A study published online in the Journal of Internal Medicine indicates that these shortcomings in the treatment of minority HIV/AIDS patients can be overcome.
The study, written by Dr. Somnath Saha, M.D. MPH, of the Portland VA Medical Center, in conjunction with the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, and distinguished colleagues, indicates that understanding the ethnic and cultural identities of HIV/AIDS patients, and working within the differences that these minorities present allows for a better understanding of the patient, and conveys to the patient the compassion and caring for not only the patient, but the limitations of that patients minority status bring about.
The study, entitled “Primary Care Provider Cultural Competence and Racial Disparities in HIV Care and Outcomes,” asserts that professional health organizations have advocated for the ” Cultural Competence” of Doctors and other Healthcare Providers in the U.S., as to reduce racial, cultural and ethnic fluctuations in regards to overall patient care.
Infection with the HIV/AIDS virus is the leading contributor to racial inequalities with respect to health and life expectancy in the U.S. The fact that minority individuals with HIV/AIDS are less likely than whites to receive antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, and then maintain these ARV regimens once prescribed, in most cases will lead to fluctuations in positive outcomes for these patients, including but not limited to, viral suppression, progression to AIDS and death.
The patient-provider relationship plays a pivotal role in eliminating the disparities in HIV/AIDS care and outcomes. A strong patient-provider relationship creates patient trust, which in turn delivers a higher likelihood of HIV/AIDS patients receiving ARV therapy, continuing with this therapy, in an effort to achieve the greatest probable outcomes.
Many ethnic minorities are of the lowest income brackets, and generally don’t have health insurance. This lack of insurance leads them to either not seek prompt medical attention for health problems, or to use their local county ER for their healthcare needs. This leads to their seeing different, unfamiliar providers each time, not allowing for the trust and compassion of those providers to be visualized.
Some ethnic minorities seek out healthcare providers from their own ethnic group, in an effort to foster the trust and compassion needed for positive outcomes.
This understanding of the individual differences of diverse groups of ethnic minorities is exactly what this study hopes to engender and demonstrate to all physicians and healthcare providers.
In a national study of patient care for HIV/AIDS patients, there was an apparent postponement of the initial prescribing of protease inhibitors for African Americans seeking medical attention from healthcare providers from a different ethnic background then their own, that was not witnessed from healthcare providers from the same ethnic background.
This delay in treatment with protease inhibitors can allow the HIV/AIDS infection to advance beyond treatable levels.
The results and findings of this study suggest that “Cultural Competence” and the understanding and visible compassion for patients with diverse ethnic backgrounds, may reduce these apparent racial disparities in quality of healthcare received and positive outcome for HIV/AIDS patients.