Improving HIV Care Engagement in the South from the Patient and Provider Perspective: The Role of Stigma, Social Support, and Shared Decision-Making

Barbara S. Taylor, Laura Fornos, Jesse Tarbutton, Jana Muñoz, Julie A. Saber, Delia Bullock, Roberto Villarreal, Ank E. Nijhawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Initial linkage to medical care is a critical step in the HIV care continuum leading to improved health outcomes, reduced morbidity and mortality, and decreased HIV transmission risk. We explored differences in perspectives on engagement in HIV care between people living with HIV who attended (Arrived) their initial medical provider visit (IMV) and those who did not (Missed), and between patients and providers. The study was conducted in two large majority/minority HIV treatment centers in the United States (US) south, a geographical region disproportionately impacted by HIV. The Theory of Planned Behavior informed semistructured interviews eliciting facilitators and barriers to engagement in care from 53 participants: 40 patients in a structured sample of 20 Missed and 20 Arrived, and 13 care providers. Using Grounded Theory to frame analysis, we found similar perspectives for all groups, including beliefs in the following: patients' control over care engagement, a lack of knowledge regarding HIV within the community, and the impact of structural barriers to HIV care such as paperwork, transportation, housing, and substance use treatment. Differences were noted by care engagement status. Missed described HIV-related discrimination, depression, and lack of social support. Arrived worried what others think about their HIV status. Providers focused on structural barriers and process, while patients focused on relational aspects of HIV care and personal connection with clinics. Participants proposed peer navigation and increased contact from clinics as interventions to reduce missed IMV. Context-appropriate interventions informed by these perspectives are needed to address the expanding southern HIV epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-378
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS Patient Care and STDs
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • HIV
  • care continuum
  • care engagement
  • qualitative research
  • social
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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