Online Program

HIV Knowledge among Blacks/African Americans Living with HIV in the Rural South

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Madeline Sutton, MD, MPH, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Pamela Foster, MD, MPH, Community and Rural Medicine, The University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Zaneta Gaul, MSPH, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, ICF International, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Eric Cooks, MA, CHES, Department of Psychology, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Susan Gaskins, DSN, ACRN, FAAN, Capstone School of Nursing- The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background:  Blacks/African Americans in the southern United States are disproportionately affected by HIV.  For persons living with HIV, having accurate HIV knowledge is associated with better adherence to antiretroviral medications and improved health outcomes.  We examined HIV knowledge among persons living with HIV in the South to inform and strengthen HIV care.

Methods:  We recruited persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) (age ≥ 19 years) in rural Alabama.  At local partnering AIDS-serving organizations, participants completed audio computer-assisted self-interviews.  We created a categorical variable for low, moderate, and high HIV knowledge scores using 30 survey items that targeted HIV knowledge (prevention, transmission). We used chi-square analyses to estimate associations between HIV knowledge scores and participants’ characteristics for this pilot sample.  

Results:  The characteristics of 41 enrolled PLWHA were: 21 (51%) male, 16 (40%) age 40-50 years, 100% Black, 17 (41%) living with HIV for  >10 years, 15 (37%) with no high school diploma, and 100% in HIV care at the time of the survey.  HIV knowledge scores were low for 20 (49%) participants.  Low knowledge scores were not significantly associated with gender, level of education, or length of time being HIV-positive (p < 0.05). Knowledge deficit areas were noted regarding how HIV is transmitted and how persons can decrease risk of infection.

Conclusions:  HIV knowledge is suboptimal among this sample of PLWHA in rural Alabama.  PLWHA in this area may require more culturally tailored educational tools to ensure that accurate HIV knowledge is strengthened for optimal HIV health care and outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe HIV knowledge deficits among HIV-positive African Americans living in rural Alabama. Discuss the development of culturally-tailored educational tools to strengthen HIV knowledge and optimize HIV care for African Americans in the rural south.

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years of HIV research and clinical experience. I have also published in this area.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.