Neurocognition, health-related reading literacy, and numeracy in medication management for HIV infection

Drenna Waldrop-Valverde, Deborah Lynne Jones, Felicia Gould, Mahendra Kumar, Raymond L. Ownby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Successful medication management is an essential ingredient for effective treatment for HIV. Risk factors for poor medication adherence, including neurocognitive impairment and low health literacy, are common in HIV patients. To better understand the most salient risks for poor management of HIV medications, we tested the interrelation of neurocognitive functioning, reading literacy for health related information, and numeracy and their effect on self-management of a simulated HIV medication regimen. Cross-sectional data on 191 HIV-positive men and women recruited from HIV outpatient clinics in South Florida were collected. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted with literacy, numeracy, and neurocognitive scores and suggested that four factors were present representing executive skill, verbal memory, planning, and motor speed. Both the literacy and numeracy scores loaded on the executive factor. Adjusted analyses showed that executive and planning skills were significantly related to medication management. Findings suggest that patients must rely on higher order cognitive skills to successfully navigate medication self-management, and that efforts to simplify health information that merely lowers readability are likely to meet with limited success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-484
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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