Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Steven Venette

Committee Chair Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Keith Erickson

Committee Member 2 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. Eura Jung

Committee Member 3 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 4

Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre

Committee Member 4 Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine healthcare practitioner (HCP) communication of a positive human immodeficiency syndrome/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) test result in an effort to find best practices. The population of this study included healthcare practitioners who had to disclose a positive HIV/AIDS status to a patient. Data from specific accounts recalled by the healthcare practitioners were analyzed using grounded theory approach. The first research question was concerned with the strategies used by healthcare practitioners. The results indicated that there are two primary strategies used in HIV/AIDS disclosure: strategic interactive facilitation and strategic interactive force. The second and third research questions focused on contextual factors and intervening conditions of the interaction, respectively. Contextual factors included a range of feelings experienced by the HCPs such as shock, nervousness, hope, and reluctance. Intervening conditions often included patient identity crisis, sexual orientation, marital status, and culture. These issues of identity are integral to moving individuals forward and to hindering them from making reasonable decisions that impact their own health as well as others. Results of this study also suggest that stigma awareness is both a contextual factor and an intervening condition. The fourth research question considered the consequences of the healthcare practitioner and patient interaction regarding the HIV/AIDS status. Consequences of the healthcare practitioner communication of a positive HIV/AIDS test result included patient follow-up rates, HCP experience, and lack of a protocol. The results heightened the importance of exploring the initial communication of a positive HIV/AIDS test result. Further, they lend credence to the need for a protocol and a best practices communication tool for delivering a positive HIV/AIDS status to patients. A protocol would lessen inconsistencies among provider disclosure. Therefore, a protocol for a disclosure of a positive HIV/AIDS test result was introduced.

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