The disproportionate burden of HIV among women in sub-Saharan Africa reflects underlying gender inequities, which also impact patient–provider relationships, a key component to retention in HIV care. This study explored how gender shaped the patient–provider relationship and consequently, retention in HIV care in western Kenya. We recruited and consented 60 HIV care providers from three facilities in western Kenya affiliated with the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH). Trained research assistants conducted and audio recorded 1-h interviews in English or Swahili. Data were transcribed and analyzed in NVivo using inductive thematic analysis. Gender constructs, as culturally defined, emerged as an important barrier negatively impacting the patient–provider relationship through three main domains: (1) challenges establishing clear roles and sharing power due to conflicting gender versus patient/provider identities, (2) provider frustration over suboptimal patient adherence resulting from gender-influenced contextual barriers, and (3) negative provider perceptions shaped by differing male and female approaches to communication. Programmatic components addressing gender inequities in the health care setting are urgently needed to effectively leverage the patient–provider relationship and fully promote long-term adherence and retention in HIV care.
- Patient–provider relationship
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases