The Mississippi Delta region is one of the communities most heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS in the United States. To understand local provider attitudes and practices regarding HIV testing and care, we conducted 25 in-depth qualitative interviews with local primary care providers and infectious disease specialists. Interviews explored attitudes and practices regarding HIV testing and linkage to care. Most providers did not routinely offer HIV testing, noting financial barriers, financial disincentives to offer routine screening, misperceptions about local informed consent laws, perceived stigma among patients, and belief that HIV testing was the responsibility of the health department. Barriers to enhancing treatment and care included stigma, long distances, lack of transportation, and paucity of local infectious disease specialists. Opportunities for enhancing HIV testing and care included provider education programs regarding billing, local HIV testing guidelines, and informed consent, as well as telemedicine services for underserved counties. Although most health care providers in our study did not currently offer routine HIV testing, all were willing to provide more testing and care services if they were able to bill for routine testing. Increasing financial reimbursement and access to care, including through the Affordable Care Act, may provide an opportunity to enhance HIV/AIDS services in the Mississippi Delta.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases