Bristol-Myers Squibb National Survey Finds a Disparity Between Health Care Providers and HIV Positive Patients Perspectives on the Emotional Barriers to Seeking HIV Care and Treatment. 22/7/10

Data Addressing Barriers to Accessing HIV Testing, Care, and Treatment in the United States Presented at International AIDS Conference

22 July 2010

VIENNA, Austria--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today presented results from a national survey which found that emotional barriers, such as stigma, fear, denial and shame, and structural barriers, such as lack of knowledge, transportation, and insurance coverage, can prevent people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) from seeking care and treatment. These data further the understanding of obstacles to care for many PLWHA and may help address the gap between a person testing HIV positive and seeking medical care and treatment in the United States. The national survey, commissioned by Bristol-Myers Squibb, was presented at the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria.

According to the national survey results, emotional barriers are the key barriers across all three patient groups surveyed from both the patient and the health care provider (HCP)/allied health care provider (AHP) perspective. Patients surveyed included those who were diagnosed with HIV and under care (DUC), diagnosed and not under care (DNUC), or undiagnosed and at risk for HIV (AR). These emotional and structural barriers are:

-Not feeling sick is a major barrier across all three patient groups
-Fear of medication side effects and the realization that taking medication means “facing reality” and possible financial struggle, are top tier barriers among the two diagnosed groups
-Stigma and denial are significant barriers among the undiagnosed

HCPs were found to underestimate the impact of emotional rather than structural barriers on a patient’s willingness to undergo HIV testing, access care, and even initiate HIV treatment when medically appropriate. Patients who were DUC were more likely to rate their doctor as influential in treatment decisions than patients in the other two groups surveyed. Understanding these barriers and how they differ across patient groups and HCPs throughout the country may provide key insights in helping to increase the number of people who receive the care they need.

“Despite the widespread availability of HIV therapies and expert care in the United States, many patients seek treatment long after HIV treatment experts would recommend initiating therapy. We hope that by understanding the perceived barriers to HIV care for both health care providers and patients, we can help address these treatment gaps,” said Daniel Seekins, MD, group director, HIV medical strategy, Bristol-Myers Squibb and one of the authors of the study. “This research underscores Bristol-Myers Squibb’s long standing commitment to the HIV/AIDS community and is part of our continued quest to ensure people living with HIV and AIDS receive optimal treatment.”

Recognizing the challenges that prevent people from accessing care, the National AIDS Fund (NAF) and Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into an unprecedented collaboration in 2009, combining financial resources and technical expertise to reach HIV-affected communities and to help facilitate changes to enhance access to care for PLWHA. This collaboration is one of the key components of Positive Charge, a Bristol-Myers Squibb initiative launched in December 2009 to help break down the barriers that prevent PLWHA from receiving HIV care, appropriate treatment and necessary support.

Positive Charge aligns with President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) announced July 13, 2010. Developed with insights and input from the HIV community, the NHAS focuses on three main goals – lowering the rate of HIV infections, increasing the number of people in care, and reducing disparities in care. In May 2010, Bristol-Myers Squibb and NAF joined Melody Barnes, Director of Domestic Policy Council, for a panel discussion at the White House, during which Positive Charge was discussed as an example of the public-private partnerships necessary for the successful implementation of the NHAS. At that time, NAF announced the awarding of five major grants to organizations in areas of high HIV prevalence that will enable more than 35 community-based organizations to help improve access to care for PLWHA. These grants provide an opportunity for geographically and culturally diverse organizations within a region to combine their expertise in developing community-driven solutions to help enable greater access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment.

About the National Survey

The findings are the result of a national survey of patients and health care providers (HCPs). Bristol-Myers Squibb commissioned a quantitative national survey of patients and health care providers, including patients who were diagnosed with HIV and under care (DUC), diagnosed and not under care (DNUC), or undiagnosed and at risk for HIV (AR), and health care providers including physicians, nurse practitioners/physician assistants (NPs/PAs) and allied health care providers (AHPs) such as case managers, peer educators/counselors or mental health professionals/social workers.

Two parallel surveys were conducted among 234 patients [104 DUC; 54 DNUC, 76 at-risk (AR)] and 299 HCPs and allied health professionals (90 MDs, 40 NPs, 33 PAs, 136 AHPs) during November 2008 through January 2009. Interviews were conducted over the phone, online or in person and lasted approximately 30-45 minutes.

According to the national survey data presented, HCPs were more likely to view substance abuse issues (49% for patients DUC and 66% for patients DNUC) or struggling to handle financial and basic needs (58% for patients DUC and 64% for patients DNUC) as reasons why people living with HIV were not receiving treatment. On the other hand, patients DUC indicated that fear of side effects (82%), denial of needing treatment because they did not feel sick (69%), and HIV stigma (55%) as key barriers. Findings were similar for patients who were diagnosed but not under care.

About Positive Charge

Positive Charge is a comprehensive U.S.-based initiative sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb and built on three key pillars: enabling PLWHA to access care and treatment, contributing to the scientific agenda, and demonstrating advocacy leadership.

Positive Charge is designed to support programs customized to help meet the unique needs of individuals living with HIV, and is dedicated to working with health care providers, community members, advocates, caregivers and families of PLWHA in order to help assist them in overcoming the barriers that may be preventing them from getting the HIV care, treatment and support they need.

Positive Charge is also designed to make meaningful contributions to scientific exchange on issues of importance to HIV patients and physicians and to advocacy dialogues at the state and local levels to the benefit of PLWHA.

To learn more about Positive Charge, please visit HERE

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