Internet use among low-income persons recently diagnosed with HIV infection

Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 10/2007; 19(9):1182-7. DOI: 10.1080/09540120701402806
Source: PubMed


Patients are increasingly using the Internet to obtain health-related information, communicate with providers and access research. Use of the Internet to obtain health-related information by low-income patients recently diagnosed with HIV infection has not been examined. In 2005, we surveyed 126 low-income patients diagnosed with HIV infection within the last three years. Eighty-five percent of the patients were<50 years old, 63% were male, 68% were minority race, 27% were Hispanic and 61% acquired HIV through heterosexual intercourse. Twenty-eight percent never completed high school and 74% earned<$15,000 in 2004. While 89% indicated they would like to use the Internet to access information about HIV, 52% had never used the Internet, 28% had never used it to obtain health-related information and only 18% had done so at least monthly for the last six months. Two-thirds of the population studied would need instruction on how to use the Internet. In multivariable regression, 2004 income > or =$15,000 predicted monthly Internet use to obtain health-related information. Older age, heterosexual intercourse as HIV risk factor and inadequate health literacy were independent predictors of needing instruction. The low-income population with HIV infection lags behind the general population in Internet access and may not benefit from Internet-dependent advances in health communication, including HIV-related interventions.

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    • "Indeed, there are many potential hazards of using the Internet for health-related activities, including obtaining erroneous information about symptoms and treatments (Kunts et al., 2002), misinterpreting information in electronic medical records, and mismanaging healthcare accounts and schedules. These challenges may be particularly relevant for persons from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are at high risk for low health literacy (Kalichman et al., 2000) and may have difficulty effectively navigating the Internet (Blackstock et al., 2014; Mayben & Giardano, 2007). "

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