Provider-patient adherence dialogue in HIV care: Results of a multisite study

M. Barton Laws, Mary Catherine Beach, Yoojin Lee, William H. Rogers, Somnath Saha, P. Todd Korthuis, Victoria Sharp, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Few studies have analyzed physician-patient adherence dialogue about ARV treatment in detail. We comprehensively describe physician-patient visits in HIV care, focusing on ARV-related dialogue, using a system that assigns each utterance both a topic code and a speech act code. Observational study using audio recordings of routine outpatient visits by people with HIV at specialty clinics. Providers were 34 physicians and 11 non-M.D. practitioners. Of 415 patients, 66% were male, 59% African-American. 78% reported currently taking ARVs. About 10% of utterances concerned ARV treatment. Among those using ARVs, 15% had any adherence problem solving dialogue. ARV problem solving talk included significantly more directives and control parameter utterances by providers than other topics. Providers were verbally dominant, asked five times as many questions as patients, and made 21 times as many directive utterances. Providers asked few open questions, and rarely checked patients' understanding. Physicians respond to the challenges of caring for patients with HIV by adopting a somewhat physician-centered approach which is particularly evident in discussions about ARV adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Adherence
  • HIV
  • Pharmaceutical treatment
  • Physician-patient communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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