Discussion of sexual risk behavior in HIV care is infrequent and appears ineffectual: A mixed methods study

M. Barton Laws, Ylisabyth S. Bradshaw, Steven A. Safren, Mary Catherine Beach, Yoojin Lee, William Rogers, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Consensus guidelines in HIV care call for clinicians to provide a brief sexual risk behavioral intervention in each visit. Studies based on participant reports find this occurs infrequently, but studies based on direct observation of clinical encounters are lacking. We conducted a mixed method study that used audio recordings of 116 routine outpatient visits by 58 different patients with HIV, in five different practice sites. Transcripts of the visits were coded and analyzed using a quantitative system. In addition, we conducted a qualitative analysis of the dialogue segments in which sexual risk behaviors arose as a topic. Discussion of sexual risk behavior occurred in 10 visits, and was generally quite brief. Two visits featured substantial counseling about sexual risk reduction; two others included substantial discussion which was not evidently directed at the patient's changing behavior. Cues suggesting a need or opportunity for such discussion that physicians did not follow up on occurred in seven additional visits. Interactions about sexual risk had less patient engagement than interactions about other health behaviors. Physicians seldom provide sexual risk reduction counseling in HIV care, even where specific indications are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)812-822
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Counseling
  • Medical care
  • Physician-patient communication
  • STIs
  • Sexual risk behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Discussion of sexual risk behavior in HIV care is infrequent and appears ineffectual: A mixed methods study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this