Author(s): Lin C, Li L, Wan D, Wu Z, Yan Z, Lin C, Li L, Wan D, Wu Z, Yan Z
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Abstract This study aims to investigate health care providers' empathy levels and its association with avoidance in providing service to patients living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in China. A total of 1760 health service providers were randomly sampled from 40 county hospitals in two provinces of China. Using a self-administered questionnaire, participants' demographic characteristics, work history, empathy level, and avoidance attitudes toward PLWHA were collected in a cross-sectional survey. Empathy was higher among participants aged 31-40 years, those who had an associated medical degree, and those who had served in the medical profession for less than 20 years. Nurses, younger providers, and providers with lower education tended to avoid contact with PLWHA. Multiple linear regression model showed that a higher level of empathic attitude toward patients was significantly negatively associated with avoidance attitude toward PLWHA. Service providers' empathy level plays an important role in providing quality care to HIV-infected patients. Future stigma reduction interventions should cultivate empathy as a platform for understanding, effective communication, and trusting provider-patient relationships. PLWHA could potentially benefit from attitudinal change in medical settings.
This article was published in AIDS Care
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research