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Tools to Support Patient-Provider Dialogue

In 2017, ViiV Healthcare shared data from the global Positive Perspectives Survey, which focused on people living with HIV (PLHIV) and their partners about their attitudes towards living with HIV and communicating with their healthcare professional (HCP).1


The survey was conducted in nine countries, including the United States, and achieved a total sample size of 1111 PLHIV and 250 partners of PLHIV.1 Participants were recruited from local and national charities, patient support groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), HIV online communities, and via social media.


According to the 1111 PLHIV surveyed, 71% (789) are “very comfortable” with raising issues of concern with their main HCP.1 However, this leaves a proportion of PLHIV who feel some hesitation in talking openly with their HCP. 

Some of the reasons cited by PLHIV surveyed (n=1111) for not feeling comfortable raising issues of concern with their HCP included1:

11% don’t want to take up more of their time

10% don’t believe they can do much about my concerns

  9% not sure how to bring it up

In separate research, the quality of communication between HCPs and their patients has been shown to be closely linked to the quality of healthcare provided.HCPs can be a source of motivation, incentive, reassurance, and support; most concerns about doctors are related to matters of communication.    




Tools to help promote patient-provider communication are available online, such as the checklists for healthcare appointments that can be found in the ASO Library on APositiveLife.com, a patient education website sponsored by ViiV Healthcare. These downloadable checklists come in two versions—one for PLHIV on HIV medication and another for PLHIV not on HIV medication—to help patients gather their thoughts about their HIV experience and plan for more productive conversations with HCPs during clinic visits.


AIDSinfo.com offers helpful guidance for newly-diagnosed PLHIV by listing questions to ask during an initial HCP visit and linking a Question Builder that allows patients to print a portable list of relevant questions on topics such as talking about a health problem or getting/changing a medicine.



HIV.gov has published a page on Seeing Your Health Care Provider that details steps for PLHIV to take before and during appointments to get the most out of clinic visits. This includes guidance for developing a list of questions and tips for directing questions to the right members of their healthcare team.


Sharing these kinds of online resources and discussion tools with PLHIV and inviting them to speak candidly about their experience may help spark productive conversations during medical visits. Research shows that sound patient-provider communication can facilitate patient comprehension of medical information, lead to increased patient involvement in care, and may ultimately lead to improved adherence and health outcomes.2



The Positive Perspectives Survey also explored the supporting role of partners in HIV care.1 The survey revealed that while HCPs often have good intentions to involve partners of PLHIV more closely, in practice, it’s not routinely done.

According to partners surveyed (n=250)1:

86%said they encouraged their partner to discuss medication concerns with their HCP

39%said their partner’s HCP either did not actively involve them or  disregarded the supporting role they can play

When partners of PLHIV are looking to be more involved, HCPs may take into account the important role partners can play in offering emotional support and boosting the confidence of PLHIV to be more engaged with HCPs in care.


of partners of PLHIV surveyed (n=250) said they currently support PLHIV by giving them confidence to raise their concerns with their main HIV healthcare provider1


1. Data on file. ViiV Healthcare group of companies. Research Triangle Park, NC.

2. Ha JF, Anat DS, Longnecker N. Doctor-patient communication: a review. Oshsner J. 2010;10(1):38-43.



HVUWCNT190035 April 2020

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