JOURNAL ARTICLE

Information preferences and practices among people living with HIV/AIDS: results from a nationwide survey

Timothy P Hogan, Carole L Palmer
Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA 2005, 93 (4): 431-9
16239938

OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to reach many segments of the diverse HIV/AIDS community and broaden understanding of how information can better assist people living with HIV/AIDS.

METHODS: Data were collected through a self-administered mail survey distributed nationwide at clinics, drug treatment centers, and other AIDS service organizations.

RESULTS: The 662 respondents preferred getting information from people--including health professionals, family, and friends--and considered people the most trustworthy, useful, understandable, and available information sources. Forty-three percent selected doctors as their most preferred source. The Internet was not rated highly overall but was preferred by those with more education or living in metropolitan areas. Seventy-two percent said they actively search for HIV/AIDS-related information, and 80% said they give advice or tell others where to get such information. However, 71% agreed that it is easy to feel overwhelmed by information, and 31% agreed that not seeking information can be beneficial.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, information seeking is an important activity for this sample of people living with HIV/AIDS. Many sources are widely available to them but, together, can be overwhelming. They rely on health professionals far more than print or media sources and receive encouragement and support from family and friends.

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