Seyram A. Butame

You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys/ They ain't gonna fight no wars.

Talking to a provider about HIV

What discussions are had with providers around HIV?

After looking at where people are hearing about sex and birth control, I wanted to explore the issue of sexual health a bit more. This time, I was curious about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The world is recovering from COVID, but the HIV pandemic has raged for the past three decades. And in developed countries like the US, the epidemic is somewhat under control. At least in a place like the US, medical advancements, access to basic health provisions, and the proliferation of healthcare organizations that provide care and outreach services have helped control the spread of the disease. However, the problem remains, and many researchers, myself included, have spent much time thinking of how best to deal with the new stage of the epidemic in the US, where we see new infections primarily within specific populations. At the same time, we grapple with the idea that the infection has become a chronic condition.

To its credit, the federal government continues to make efforts to address the problem. Grant funding continues to flow from organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to devise new and innovative interventions and facilitate their scale-up. Furthermore, laws like the Ryan White Act continue to provide essential funding for outreach and care programs, such as housing and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. However, despite all these investments, and medical advancements, problems remain in addressing HIV. A comprehensive public health approach of some sort, initiated at a national level but managed at the local level (a stratum that as yet remains undefined. That is, the local strategy could be state, county, municipality, or some other strata definition that enables the effective tackling of the disease). But even before that, we should understand whether people know about HIV.

In my previous visual document “Talking to parents about sex and birth control”, I noted that parents/guardians could be a source of information on sex and birth control. However, the NSFG data suggested that only a small minority of Americans had spoken to their parents about reproductive health issues, including HIV (see post here). Another source of information would be medical providers, be the primary care providers or specialists. The NSFG also provides a way to get such information with a series of items that query respondents on whether they have discussed the topic with a provider. Those answering in the affirmative are then asked about specific issues addressed in their conversations. I have created the visual document with the data collected from those two items. The pie charts show how males and females responded to the question about talking with a provider. In contrast, the bar chart below summarizes the topics covered. I provide menu items that stratify the data for the following: age, race, ethnicity, religion, household poverty level, level of education, and whether respondents have had same-sex relationships.


Title Image Source:

Hassan, Mohamed. “Therapist talking to patient” February 24, 2021. Online image. August 26, 2022. <>