Despite prolonged survival and improved quality of life as a result of treatment advances for HIV/AIDS, thousands still suffer with the disease and 15-16,000 a year die in the United States alone. Little is known about those patients with HIV/AIDS who still require palliative care services or the types of services needed. This paper describes the program elements and clients of three programs providing palliative care to persons with HIV/AIDS in Alabama (n = 41), Baltimore, Maryland, (n = 55), and New York City (n = 52). Also presented are the prevalence of need for 27 services as assessed by clients and staff, the level of agreement found between client and staff assessments at each site, and services for which prevalence of need varied among programs. Interviews were conducted between June 2000 and October 2002. The majority of clients at all programs were socioeconomically disadvantaged, persons of color, and had a history of substance abuse, although significant differences were noted in the distributions of clients at each program with regard to these characteristics. Greater differences were observed among programs in the prevalence of need reported than were found between reports of clients and staff at the same program. Despite these differences, a common set of medical (ambulatory/outpatient care, laboratory testing, pharmacy) and ancillary (nutritional counseling, transportation) services was identified by at least 25% of clients and staff at each program. These findings suggest that need, beyond a core of medical and ancillary services, is relative and best conceptualized as a mixture of need, demand, and supply. The need for a mix of "care" and "cure" services identified reflect the erratic disease trajectory experienced by some clients who move in and out of treatment as well as the vulnerability and marginalized lives of the clients served by these programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases