Primary care physicians in South Carolina were asked about their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and services provided to HIV/AIDS patients. The study focused on conditions under which physicians would provide additional services in an effort to develop more effective state policies regarding HIV/AIDS. There was a 66 percent (597/900) response rate. This analysis focuses on a group of 338 physicians that identified themselves as rural (nonurban) physicians. Of the rural physicians responding, 42 percent had not treated a case of HIV/AIDS during the last year and 52 percent had seen only 1 to 9 patients. They identified lack of specialty back-up support, likelihood of losing patients, legal and ethical issues, and lack of community services as the primary barriers to service. Gaps in rural physician knowledge included when to refer HIV/AIDS cases to specialists and information on legal and ethical issues. They, like their urban colleagues, would provide additional services to HIV/AIDS patients with specialty backup (57 percent), better community and social services support (54 percent), additional training (48 percent), and limited liability (47 percent). The authors conclude that policy changes addressing these areas in the broader contexts of rural health issues would expand access to care for persons with HIV infection in rural states.
AIDS Patient Care – Mary Ann Liebert
Published: Dec 1, 1995