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GLOBAL: Survey reveals gaps in doctor-patient dialogue

Johannesburg, 26 July 2010 (IRIN) - A new, global survey has revealed the conversations healthcare providers aren’t having with their HIV-positive patients with potentially negative consequences for their treatment and health.

The AIDS Treatment for Life International Survey (ATLIS 2010) of more than 2,000 HIV-positive patients in 12 countries around the world, found that most respondents also had health conditions such as depression, hepatitis C or kidney disease, which could affect their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, but less than half had ever discussed these with their healthcare providers.

Similarly, about half the respondents said their ARV medication had had a negative impact on their lives, but only 43 percent had ever asked their doctor about new treatment options with fewer side effects.

Patients in South Africa, which has the world's largest ARV programme, reported high levels of adherence – 83 percent said they had not missed a dose in the past month - second only to Brazil, where adherence was almost 90 percent. People living with HIV in Africa and Latin America were also generally more likely to report knowing practical tips for maintaining adherence than those in North America, Europe and Asia.

However, only 62 percent of respondents in Africa knew that the development of drug resistance was a negative consequence of missing ARV doses, and 18 percent of respondents globally thought it was a "good" thing.

Researchers presenting the report's findings at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, last week described the lack of patient knowledge about the danger of drug resistance as a major concern.

A statement by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC), which commissioned the study, said the research indicated a need for more wide-ranging and in-depth discussions between patients and doctors.

IAPAC president Dr Jose Zuniga commented: "Expanding patient-physician conversations to include all aspects of a patient's wellbeing is crucial for long-term survival and positive treatment outcomes."

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Theme (s): Care/Treatment - PlusNews, HIV/AIDS (PlusNews),

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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