"Being dealt with as a whole person." Care seeking and adherence: the benefits of culturally competent care

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Jun;52(11):1643-59. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00274-4.


The purpose of this study is to characterize the relationship between identity and health care experiences (including antiretroviral therapy utilization) among HIV-positive sexual minority males. This qualitative study used grounded theory with data collection occurring through focus groups and interviews. A questionnaire was used to complete a demographic profile. The study included 47 HIV positive participants from three minorities: gay men, bisexual men and transgendered persons, gender identifying as female and or living as women. Sessions elicited information on: (1) general experiences with health care, (2) experiences with HIV antiretroviral therapies and issues surrounding access, and (3) adherence to these therapies and identity in relation to health care. These textual data revealed three themes: (1) the importance of sexual identity and its social and cultural context, (2) the differences in the health concerns between the sexual minorities and (3) a wide spectrum of experiences with the health care system that provide information surrounding the access to and adequacy of health care. Successful health care providers are aware of different issues that may play a role in the provision of health care to these sexual minorities. Providers awareness of sexual and social identity and the related different cultural values, beliefs and custom enhance care seeking and therapeutic adherence. For sexual minorities, primary care remains the most important entry point into the health care system. Cultural competence of care providers can foster patient's care seeking and adherence to treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • British Columbia
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Focus Groups
  • Gender Identity*
  • HIV Seropositivity / ethnology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / therapy
  • Holistic Health*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Prejudice*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transsexualism / psychology*
  • Truth Disclosure