Health literacy and health outcomes in persons living with HIV disease: A systematic review


Low health literacy is associated with challenges for those living with HIV including medication non-adherence and poorer health outcomes. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature on health literacy and health outcomes in persons living with HIV. The extended guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement, as well as A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) checklist were utilized to guide the approach to the review. A variety of electronic databases including PubMed, CINAHL, PsychInfo, and Cochrane Library were searched. Additional literature available on U.S. government websites was also included in the search. Search terms were used in a variety of combinations and included HIV, health literacy, adherence, and health outcomes. Forty-eight studies were identified that addressed health literacy and health outcomes in HIV. Although several studies in this review did not provide robust results of statistical significance linking health literacy with health outcomes, all of the studies addressed the key significance of health literacy within the scope of living with HIV disease. The relationship between health literacy and the identified health outcomes requires further research and explication


Reynolds R, Smoller S, Allen A, Nicholas PK




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Sexual risk behaviour
  • Substance Use
    • Nonmedicinal drugs
  • Mental Health
    • Depression


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