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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