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Adherence To Antiretroviral Treatment Linked Po Health Literacy

Armen Hareyan's picture


HIV-positivepeople with low health-literacy levels are less likely to understand theirmedication instructions and, therefore, are less compliant with theirantiretroviral treatment regimens, according to a study published in theNovember issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Reuters Health reports.

For the study, Chandra Osborn of NorthwesternUniversity andcolleagues investigated the link between health literacy and racial disparitiesin the adherence to antiretroviral treatment among 204 HIV-positive peopleattending outpatient clinics in Chicago and Shreveport, La.Eighty percent of the participants were male, 45% were black and their averageage was 40, Reuters Health reports. Overall, more than 70% of theparticipants were taking three or more antiretroviral drugs, and more than 50%were being treated for other illnesses, according to researchers.

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The health-literacy levels were determined by the participants' overallliteracy skills. Using a health-related word recognition test, the researchersfound that 68.6% of the participants had adequate health literacy or were ableto read at a ninth grade or higher level. More than 20% had marginal healthliteracy, reading at the seventh to eighth grade level, and about 11% hadreading levels below that, the study found.

Aftertaking into account the effects of age, gender, income, number of medicationsand other diseases, researchers found that blacks were 2.4 times more likely tonot be adhering to their treatment, compared with other groups, Osborn said. Sheadded that when the effects of literacy were considered, "literacy was asignificant predictor of nonadherence, such that patients with low literacywere 2.1 times more likely to be nonadherent to their medication regimen thanpatients with adequate literacy." The researchers noted that healthliteracy is a potentially amendable barrier to adherence (Hendry, ReutersHealth, 11/15).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.