Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NLU Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Judah Viola

Second Advisor

Bradley Olson

Third Advisor

Suzette Reed



This dissertation is intended to provide health care providers a way to connect, communicate, and understand barriers including adherence that potentially lead to behaviors that keep low income communities at-risk for contracting HIV infection. This knowledge can potentially lead to improved health outcomes for patients in reducing high risk behaviors.

In spite of the prevalence of HIV and the realities concerning the threat of infection, closing the gaps in continuity of care has been a consistent challenge for patients with HIV. There are countless reasons why continuity of care can be disrupted and potentially render HIV treatment wholly ineffective.

Improving health outcome indirectly affects the value of a patient’s health care experience. The role of health care providers’ attitude toward their patients has been recognized as a key factor in keeping them on track, in terms of a healthy routine as well as medication adherence. Physicians need to recognize their responsibility in maintaining a happy and healthy life for their patients with HIV. Health care providers need to use their communication and interactive skills to engage the patients and influence them to always follow up for their treatment. Discontinuing care will not only lead to public health issues, but it can also lead to poor health outcomes.



I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my advisor Dr. Judah Viola for the endless support of my Ph.D. research, for his patience, motivation, and immeasurable knowledge. His relentless guidance and encouragement assisted me with the research and writing of this dissertation during some major challenges in my life. I could not have imagined having a more committed advisor and mentor for my Ph.D. study and research.

In addition my advisor, I would like to thank the rest of my dissertation committee: Dr. Suzette Fromm-Reed and Dr. Bradly Olson, for their insightful comments and encouragement, but also for the hard question which inspired me to widen my research from various perspectives.

My sincere thanks also go to the staff of AID ATLANTA who assisted with data collection of my surveys.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank my family: for supporting me throughout this journey.