Internet Health Information Seeking Behavior and Antiretroviral Adherence in Persons Living with HIV/AIDS

Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
AIDS patient care and STDs (Impact Factor: 3.5). 06/2011; 25(7):445-9. DOI: 10.1089/apc.2011.0027
Source: PubMed


Abstract While the Internet has the potential to educate persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), websites may contain inaccurate information and increase the risk of nonadherence with antiretroviral therapy (ART). The objectives of our study were to determine the extent to which PLWHA engage in Internet health information seeking behavior (IHISB) and to determine whether IHISB is associated with ART adherence. We conducted a survey of adult, English-speaking HIV-infected patients at four HIV outpatient clinic sites in the United States (Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; New York, and Portland, Oregon) between December 2004 and January 2006. We assessed IHISB by asking participants how much information they had received from the Internet since acquiring HIV. The main outcome was patient-reported ART adherence over the past three days. Data were available on IHISB for 433 patients, 334 of whom were on ART therapy. Patients had a mean age of 45 (standard error [SE] 0.45) years and were mostly male (66%), African American (58%), and had attained a high school degree (73%). Most (55%) reported no IHISB, 18% reported some, and 27% reported "a fair amount" or "a great deal." Patients who reported higher versus lower levels of IHISB were significantly younger, had achieved a higher level of education, and had higher medication self-efficacy. In unadjusted analyses, higher IHISB was associated with ART adherence (odds ratio [OR], 2.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27-6.94). This association persisted after adjustment for age, gender, race, education, clinic site, and medication self-efficacy (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.76, 95% CI 1.11-6.87). Our findings indicate that IHISB is positively associated with ART adherence even after controlling for potentially confounding variables. Future studies should investigate the ways in which Internet health information may promote medication adherence among PLWHA.

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Available from: Todd Philip Korthuis
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    • "Perhaps more than any other life-threatening disease, HIV/AIDS is associated with fear, emotional distress, emotional needs, stigma, shame, discrimination, and social injustice (Blumberg, 2000; Emeka, 2008; Mill, Edwards, Jackson, MacLean, & Chaw-Kant, 2010; It has been argued that information might make a difference in coping with HIV/AIDS (Kalichman, 2007; Kalichman, Cherry, Cain, Weinhardt, et al., 2006; Kalichman et al., 2003, 2005; Mo & Coulson, 2008; Reeves, 2000, 2001), the prevention and reduction of HIV/AIDS (Albright & Kawooya, 2005; Blumberg, 2000), motivation to adhere to treatment (Cornman, Schmiege, Bryan, Benziger, & Fisher, 2007; Johnson & Case, 2012), motivation to change sexual behavior (Fisher, 2012), and the promotion of HIV testing (Davis et al., 2011). Substantial interest is reported in the use of the Internet as a tool for information seeking and for delivering educational interventions, as well as for information dissemination and supporting people in coping with HIV/ AIDS (Kalichman, 2007; Kalichman, Cherry, Cain, Pope, et al., 2006; Kalichman, Cherry, Cain, Weinhardt, et al., 2006; Kalichman, Picciano, & Roffman, 2008; Kalichman, Weinhardt, Benotsch, & Cherry, 2002; Kalichman et al., 2003, 2005, 2012; Mayben & Giordano, 2007; Mo & Coulson, 2008; Reeves, 2000; Rice, Monro, Barman-Adhikari, & Young, 2010; Robinson & Graham, 2010; Samal et al., 2011; Smith, 2004, 2011), and for bridging the digital divide (Benotsch et al., 2004; Kalichman et al., 2002, 2003). " For patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions , the Internet can serve as a source of hope, social support, and empowerment " (Benotsch et al., 2004, p. 1004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Information seeking and use are critically important for people living with HIV/AIDS and for those who care for people with HIV/AIDS. In addition, the HIV/AIDS context is characterized by significant affective or emotional aspects including stigma, fear, and coping. Thus, studies of information behavior in this context should be expected to take account of emotional variables. In information behavior scholarship, emotional variables have been marginalized in favor of a focus on cognitive aspects, although in recent years greater attention has been paid to the affective realm. This study used quantitative content analysis to explore the degree to which information behavior studies across a range of disciplines actually include affect or emotion in their analyses. Findings suggest that most studies pay little or no attention to these variables, and that attention has not changed over the past 20 years. Those studies that do account for emotion, however, provide excellent examples of information behavior research that can lead the way for future work.
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    • "Additionally, health information technology (HIT), which includes the use of the internet for health information, has been noted to have positive health impacts on certain groups. These include improving adolescent sexual health through online interventions (Guse et al., 2012), improved condom use among sexually active men and women (Noar et al., 2009), and improved ART adherence among people living with HIV/AIDS (Samal et al., 2011). Given the large number of Americans seeking health information on-line, do online resources serve as a portal for entry into HIV screening among the general population? "
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