Health literacy and adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected youth

Ann Margaret Navarra, Natalie Neu, Sima Toussi, John Nelson, Elaine L. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Health literacy has been associated with adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-infected adults, but this association has not been demonstrated in HIV-infected adolescents. Using an expanded health literacy model, we examined the relationship between health literacy, functional literacy, beliefs about ART, media use, and adherence to ART. Aconvenience sample of HIV-infected adolescents (n = 50) was recruited for this cross-sectional study. The primary outcome of adherence was measured with 3-day self-reports. Health literacy as measured by the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) was not predictive of adherence (p=.15). Participants with higher positive outcome expectancy scores regarding ART were more likely to report 100% adherence, and participants with below-grade-level reading were less likely to report 100% adherence (p < .05). Our findings highlight the importance of assessing both health beliefs and reading skills as part of adherence support for HIV-infected youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Adherence
  • Antiretroviral adherence
  • Beliefs
  • Functional literacy
  • HIV-infected adolescents
  • Health literacy
  • Media use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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