HIV-Positive Patients in Rural United States Face Obstacles to ‘Quality Health Care’ for HIV/AIDS
HIV-infected people living in rural areas of the United States do not receive the same "quality health care" as do HIV-infected people living in cities, according to a study published in the curent issue of the Journal of Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Reuters Health reports. Because of a number of access barriers, including a shortage of doctors, long travel distances to health care facilities and "undeveloped social and home care support systems," HIV patients in rural areas are less likely than those living in urban areas to receive AIDS drug cocktails or medications to prevent contracting pneumonia, Dr. Susan Cohn of the University of Rochester, N.Y., the study's lead author, said. The results of the study, which examined 367 rural participants and 2,806 urban participants, indicated that 57% of HIV patients in rural areas were taking highly active antiretroviral therapy compared to 73% in urban areas, and 60% of HIV patients in the rural U.S. were receiving medication to combat pneumonia compared with 75% in U.S. cities. "Information alone," without attention to the specific barriers that HIV-positive people in rural areas face, is unlikely to change the quality of care for HIV-positive citizens of rural areas, the researchers stated, adding that "appropriate interventions are needed to support change in the models of care by channeling patients to higher volume providers, providing transportation to regional experts and/or increasing co-management or telemedicine consulting between rural clinicians and HIV experts" (Reuters Health, 12/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.