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“Keep it simple”: older African Americans’ preferences for a health literacy intervention in HIV management

Authors Gakumo CA, Enah C, Vance DE, Sahinoglu E, Raper J

Received 21 June 2014

Accepted for publication 12 August 2014

Published 29 January 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 217—223


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Carrie Ann Gakumo,1 Comfort C Enah,1 David E Vance,1,2 Efe Sahinoglu,3 Jim L Raper1,3,4

1School of Nursing, 2Center for Nursing Research, 3School of Medicine, 41917 HIV/AIDS Outpatient Clinic, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Purpose: Health literacy is lower in minorities and older adults, and has been associated with nonadherence to medications, treatment, and care in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Likewise, African Americans with HIV are more likely to be nonadherent to their HIV medications, less likely to keep their clinic appointments related to HIV treatment and care, and more likely to die during hospitalizations than their ethnic counterparts. The present study explored the preferences of older African Americans with HIV for a health literacy intervention to promote HIV management.
Patients and methods: In this qualitative study, 20 older adult African Americans living with HIV were recruited from an HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome outpatient clinic in the southeastern region of the US. Using patient-centered participatory design methods, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted to determine patient preferences for intervention development and design. Health literacy was also measured using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine – Revised (REALM-R).
Results: Four major themes emerged related to intervention development and design: keep health information simple; use a team-based approach for health education; tailor teaching strategies to patients’ individual needs; and account for patients’ low experience, but high interest, in technology. Forty-five percent of the study population had low health literacy based on the revised Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine.
Conclusion: Future interventions that target minorities and older adults living with HIV should consider patients’ learning needs, sex-specific and mental health needs, and delivery approaches, in order to increase uptake and improve disease management and health outcomes.

Keywords: health disparities, health literacy, HIV/AIDS, medication adherence, older adults, racial disparities

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