Associations between health literacy, HIV-related knowledge, and information behavior among persons living with HIV in the Dominican Republic

Samantha Stonbraker, Arlene Smaldone, Heidi Luft, Linda F. Cushman, Leonel Lerebours Nadal, Mina Halpern, Elaine Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the health literacy levels of persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH) at a health clinic in the Dominican Republic (DR) and assess associations between health literacy, HIV-related knowledge, and health information behavior (how patients need, seek, receive, and use information). Design and Sample: Cross-sectional, descriptive. Participants were 107 PLWH attending the Clinic. Measures: A theoretically based, 64-item survey assessing information behavior and HIV-related knowledge was administered in Spanish through individual interviews. Health literacy was assessed using the Short Assessment of Health Literacy—Spanish and English. Results: On average, participants were 40.8 years old and had lived with HIV for 7.7 years. The majority (69.2%) had low health literacy. HIV-related knowledge and information behavior varied by health literacy level and uncertainty regarding a main indicator of disease progression, viral load, was demonstrated regardless of health literacy level. Participants with low health literacy were less likely to answer questions or answer questions correctly and many participants (39.2%) indicated viral transmission can occur through supernatural means. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate unmet information need and that information received may not always be understood. Methods to improve health education are needed to ensure patients receive health information in an understandable way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • global health
  • health literacy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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