HIV-positive patients and the doctor-patient relationship: perspectives from the margins

Qual Health Res. 2005 Jul;15(6):791-806. doi: 10.1177/1049732305276752.


The doctor-patient relationship and the medical consultation are important resources for the health work of people living with chronic illness. In this article, the author examines physician-based outpatient health care from the standpoint of women and men who live with HIV in conditions of economic and social marginality. She draws on focus group and interview conversations with 79 HIV-positive individuals in southern Ontario. Using the approach of institutional ethnography, she offers a close reading of patients' descriptions of what they consider good doctoring. Areas of best practice that enhance access to health care examined here include doctors' interactional styles, ways of providing treatment options and treatment information, and ways of addressing the specific needs and life circumstances of patients living in poverty and social marginality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Poverty
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Social Isolation
  • Vulnerable Populations / psychology*