Information Practices of People Living with HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: 3:30 PM

Carol Dawson-Rose, PhD, RN, FAAN1
Ann Bonner, PhD, MA, BAppSc, (Nurs)2
Annemaree Lloyd, PhD, MAppSci, GradDip, SocSci, BA, ALIA3
Emiko Kamitani, RN, MSN1
(1)School of Nursing Community Health Systems, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
(2)School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
(3)School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe concept of information practice.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to explain information practices of persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Purpose: People living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) must understand complex treatment strategies in order to manage their illness. These complex needs are similar to other chronic conditions and include: adherence to treatment regimens, and the need to actively engage with self-care. By gaining knowledge of their disease and how it is treated, PLHA can establish a foundation of self-care and become an active participant in their health care management. Little, however, is known about the information sources and practices of PLHA.  The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of how PLHA’s experience the information environment, what information practices they employ to inform their decisions in relation to treatment and care, and the range and type of information sources used by PLHA.

Methods: The study employed a constructivist methodology that focused on how people develop information practices that enable them to construct knowledge about their health condition and treatment options. PLHA were recruited from outpatient HIV care sites. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis by a collaborative team of nursing researchers and scholars in information science.

Results: Participants included men and women, mean age 42. Information practices of PLHA included learning from peers and being involved in culturally situated peer support groups. Sources of information included printed materials and other PLHA who are living with and managing HIV information. Treatment and self-care strategies provided by other people who had direct personal experience managing HIV related treatment regimens were highly trusted. 

Conclusion: Knowing the information practices of PLHA, particularly the variety of information sources used is useful for nurses when planning, implementing and evaluating patient educational strategies. For this patient population nurses could provide current information to peer-support networks as a way of supporting health promotion, prevention, and HIV management strategies for PLHA.