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Patient profiles as organizing HIV clinicians' ART adherence management: a qualitative analysis

Isabelle Toupin
  • Function : Author
Kim Engler
  • Function : Author
David Lessard
  • Function : Author
Leo Wong
  • Function : Author
Andras Lenart
  • Function : Author
Francois Raffi
  • Function : Author
Bertrand Lebouche
  • Function : Author


The effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) depends on optimal clinical management and patient adherence. Little is known about patient characteristics that clinicians consider in the management of ART adherence. Exploring this issue, five focus groups were conducted with 31 HIV-clinicians from across France. A qualitative typological analysis suggests that clinician management of patient adherence is based on characteristics that coalesce into seven patient profiles. For the passive patient, described as taking ART exactly as prescribed without questioning their doctor's expertise, a directive and simple management style was preferred. The misleading patient is characterized as concerned with social desirability and as reporting no adherence difficulties for fear of displeasing their doctor. If clinical outcomes are suboptimal, the clinicians' strategy is to remind them of the importance of open patient-clinician communication. The stoic patient is described as requesting and adequately taking the most potent ART available. Here, clinicians emphasize assessment of side effects, which the patient may minimize. The hedonistic patient's festive lifestyle and sexual risk-taking are seen as compromising adherence; with them, clinicians stress the patient's responsibility for their own health and that of their sexual partners. The obsessive patient is portrayed as having an irrational fear of ART failure and an inability to distinguish illusory from genuine adherence barriers. With this patient, clinicians seek to identify the latter. The overburdened patient is recognized as coping with life priorities that interfere with adherence and, with them, a forgiving ART is favored. The underprivileged patient is presented as having limited education, income and housing. In this case, clinicians seek to improve the patient's living conditions and access to care. These results shed light on HIV clinicians' ART adherence management. The value of these profiles for HIV care and patients should be investigated.
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Dates and versions

hal-02146855 , version 1 (04-06-2019)



Isabelle Toupin, Kim Engler, David Lessard, Leo Wong, Andras Lenart, et al.. Patient profiles as organizing HIV clinicians' ART adherence management: a qualitative analysis. AIDS CARE-PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIO-MEDICAL ASPECTS OF AIDS/HIV, 2018, 30 (2), pp.207-210. ⟨10.1080/09540121.2017.1360995⟩. ⟨hal-02146855⟩
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