End of Life Needs of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in Appalachian TennesseeSadie P. HutsonCollege of Nursing
Over the past three decades, HIV/AIDS has evolved from a terminal diagnosis to a chronic condition managed by effective pharmaceutical therapies. Despite this evolution, HIV/AIDS remains one of the leading causes of death in American adults. Emphasis on end-of-life (EOL) planning and care remains essential. This is especially critical in the Appalachian region of the southeastern United States where HIV/AIDS infection rates continue to climb. Understanding EOL needs of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Appalachia is complex, involving factors such as a general lack of health services/infrastructures, pervasive poverty, unemployment, rural and mountainous geographic terrain, stigma, cultural barriers, and inadequate education. The aim of this presentation is to discuss the findings of the first qualitative study to examine EOL care needs of PLWHA in Appalachian Tennessee and explore the contribution of the unique culture and beliefs about EOL care in an area that has been historically underserved with regard to health care services.