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Patient-Centered Strategies and Cultural Humility

When working with people living with HIV/AIDS, patient-centered strategies are vital to creating a safe, welcoming environment. Patient-centered practices include:

  • Tailoring messages to the patient
  • Focusing on the patient's strengths for positive encouragement
  • Educating the patient on his/her health and the skills needed to participate in his/her care
  • Ensuring strategies are culturally and linguistically appropriate

Programs implementing patient-centered strategies in healthcare settings to prevent new cases of HIV and to treat people living with HIV should consider ways to adapt practices and materials to fit the needs of each person. This may include considering factors such as a person's language, beliefs, skills, literacy, and identity. Culturally adapted healthcare, such as matching healthcare providers to people based on race or ethnicity, has been shown to improve disease management and treatment adherence.

HIV prevention and treatment interventions should be developed to be culturally competent in order to resonate with intended audiences and to improve outcomes for people with HIV. Programs that are culturally competent:

  • Value cultural beliefs
  • Involve the community
  • Identify diverse language needs and skills
  • Define culture broadly and integrate the concept into all practices and policies

In addition to implementing strategies that are culturally competent, programs should also be mindful of the concept of cultural humility. Cultural humility includes further considerations for implementation to continuously look at how programs are developed and that take into account the influence of each person's culture and identity and how it impacts their health behaviors. Several best practices have been identified to help providers:

  • Ask people about how they see themselves and their identity
  • Listen to what people identify as the concerns that impact health
  • Consider social determinants of health and the additional services and support each person needs

Resources to Learn More

Retention in HIV Care: A Clinician's Guide to Patient-Centered Strategies
Describes how providers can incorporate patient-centered strategies in their services and improve the quality of care. Includes teaching tools on retention, communication, organization skills, and problem solving.
Author(s): Corwin, M.A., & Bradley-Springer, L.
Organization(s): Mountain Plains AETC
Date: 8/2013

Cultural Humility & Reducing Stigma and Discrimination: Provider Handbook
An educational tool for providers working with people who have HIV that offers guidance and resources about cultural competence, cultural humility, and recommendations about concepts such as using people-first language.
Organization(s): AIDS Education & Training Center Program (AETC Southeast)
Date: 3/2020

Cultural Competence in Health and Human Services
Offers resources targeted for health and human service organizations to aid in their understanding the importance of cultural competence to reduce health disparities affecting the incidence of illness and death among diverse populations. Includes information about culturally competent care as it applies to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and STD prevention.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Prevention Information Network

Module 8: Cultural Competence & Cultural Humility
A free online professional development curriculum describing in detail the importance of practicing cultural competency and humility when serving marginalized communities.
Organization(s): Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth, Institute of Museum and Library Services