Adherence to HIV /AIDS therapies among low -literacy populations: The ALP project

Andrew Michael Fourney, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Adherence to HIV/AIDS therapies has been an important health problem since the early 1980s when AZT was first prescribed as a therapy for HIV/AIDS. It became particularly important between 1995 and 1997 with the advent of protease inhibitors (Chesney, Ickovics, Hecht, Sikipa, & Rabkin J., 1999) and became even more significant as persons with HIV/AIDS began to develop resistance to medications. Low-literacy populations have poorer health (Brez & Taylor, 1997) and higher AIDS rates (Simon, Hu, Diaz, & Kerndt, 1995), than their higher literacy counterparts due to delayed treatment (Baker, Parker, Williams, Clark, & Nurss, 1997), shame of literacy skills (Parikh, 1996), and poor access to care (Williams, et al., 1995). Poorer health and higher AIDS rates can also be attributed to poor patient-provider relationships (Crespo-Fierro, 1997; Eldred, Wu, Chaisson, & Moore, 1998) to a poorer understanding of medical protocols (Murphy, 1997), and inadequate patient education (Ungvarski, 1997; Davis, Michielutte, Askov, Williams, & Weiss, 1998, Doak, Doak, & Root, 1996). The ALP intervention was developed for HIV positive low-literacy populations of African American women in Houston, Texas. The intervention was based on a needs assessment, using the PRECEDE model, an innovative process referred to as Intervention Mapping, and validated using formative evaluation methods with 54 individuals. The needs assessment resulted in a list of behavioral, environmental, predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing determinants of adherence. The Intervention Mapping framework was used to refine these determinants and develop a list of objectives describing what must be learned or changed to for the target population to adhere to HIV/AIDS therapies. Methods and strategies, were developed using theoretical constructs from the Health Belief Model (Rosenstock, 1974) and Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986). These theories, empirical evidence, and information from the target population indicated that perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, outcome expectations, and self-efficacy were important and changeable determinants of adherence to HIV/AIDS therapies for this population. These components were brought together in the form of a theory-based color cartoon book and 10-minute cassette tape. The book was developed for people with 2.9 years of U.S. education as measured with the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level method and the script was recorded onto a cassette tape to make it suitable for populations with even lower-literacy skills. A formative evaluation was conducted to ensure that the content and structure were accurate, clear, realistic, readable, appropriate, and likely to be used as intended.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Fourney, Andrew Michael, "Adherence to HIV /AIDS therapies among low -literacy populations: The ALP project" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9981140.