(HealthDay News) — A large percentage of HIV-positive patients may see family physicians exclusively for their care, and these patients are more likely to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) if their doctor has more experience in HIV care, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
Claire E. Kendall, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Ottawa in Canada, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of data for 13,417 patients with HIV from a population-based observational study conducted between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2012. The patients were stratified into five models of care, and the effect of HIV experience of a family physician on the association between model of care and quality of care for HIV was examined.
The researchers found that about half (52.8 percent) of HIV-positive patients went to family physicians exclusively for their care. Among these patients, receipt of ART was significantly lower for those who received care from family physicians with less experience in HIV care (mean levels of adherence per number of patients with HIV seen during the study period: five or fewer patients, 0.34 and six to 49 patients, 0.4 versus 50 or more patients, 0.77). No association with family physician HIV experience was observed for patient receipt of cancer screenings or health care use.
“In particular, we found that family physician HIV experience was strongly associated with receipt of ART by HIV-positive patients, especially among those seeing only family physicians for their care,” the authors write.