Characteristics of individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus and provider interaction in the predominantly rural Southeast.
BACKGROUND: This detailed study describes the demographic characteristics, behavioral characteristics, care-seeking behavior, and barriers to health care and social services for patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the Southeast. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of Medicaid-eligible HIV-positive individuals (chart abstractions [N = 679], patient surveys [N = 487]) and care providers (N = 101) in North Carolina. Relative risks compare blacks, women, and respondents reporting substance abuse with their reference groups. Results are compared with those of a larger sample including persons from Alabama and South Carolina. RESULTS: Forty-one percent of respondents did not receive care locally, and 69% of female respondents had young children at home. In the 12 months before the survey, 66% reported substance abuse; 49% reported multiple living situations; 11% had entered drug treatment; and 10% had difficulty with the law. The findings in North Carolina did not differ from those in Alabama and South Carolina. Mean indices from care provider surveys revealed low interagency knowledge and referrals. CONCLUSIONS: Patients have complex needs for both social services and health care. However, providers are not working together.
Whetten-Goldstein, K; Nguyen, TQ; Heald, AE
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