A global study found that taking a holistic approach to health care for people living with HIV improves various health and wellbeing outcomes, including virus suppression and quality of life.

One such approach, as assessed in the Positive Perspectives 2 study, involved healthcare providers who involve people living with HIV in open dialogue and make joint decisions about their medical care.

A collection of four presentations at the International AIDS Conference practically this week contains detailed results from the study.

ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Perspectives 2 study enrolled a diverse population of 2,389 people living with HIV. They are 18 to 84 years old and come from 25 countries.

“The results of the Positive Perspectives 2 study offer insights into the challenges we face as people living with HIV.” Erika Castellanos, Program Director at Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) and member of the Advisory Board of Positive Perspectives 2, said in a press release. “Although great strides have been made in the treatment of HIV, these results show that those of us living with HIV still need support so that we can confidently stand up for ourselves in all aspects of our care. HIV makes us more susceptible to other health conditions. It is therefore important that we feel entitled to play an active role in our HIV care and to discuss changing treatment needs with us on a regular basis [health care providers]. ”

The ongoing study will evaluate how participants rate their own health and how living with the virus affects their lives and future prospects. It also examines participants’ interactions and relationships with their health care providers, as well as their experiences with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for the virus.

Those people with HIV who reported high levels of engagement with their health care providers reported better health outcomes. This finding suggests that improving the quality of communication between doctors and their HIV-positive patients can improve the quality of life.

Seventy percent (456 out of 813) of those who reported high levels of engagement with their health care providers reported having optimal health, compared with 46 percent (334 out of 756) of those who reported low commitment. 88% (716 out of 813) and 47% (340 out of 756) of the two groups said they were satisfied with their HIV treatment.

65 percent (1,556 out of 2,389) of all people in the study said they wanted to be more involved in decisions about their ARV treatment. However, 77% (1,847 out of 2,389) said they had at least one topic that they felt uncomfortable about when having open conversations with their health care providers.

Sixty-six percent (1,588 out of 2,389) of participants said they were informed that an undetectable viral load means that a person with HIV cannot sexually transmit the virus. This group reported better health outcomes than the participants who were not informed of this fact.

23 percent (161 out of 699) of participants 50 and older said they had sub-optimal physical, mental, sexual, and general health. Fifty-three percent (335 out of 632) of this age cohort who entered the study after taking ARVs and 84 percent (56 out of 67) who were newly diagnosed (defined as diagnosed since 2017) said barriers to having health concerns about health care providers, including those related to medication.

Click here to read a press release on the study.

Click here to view all POZ coverage of AIDS 2020 Virtual.

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