Delayed diagnosis of HIV is associated with a worse prognosis despite highly active antiretroviral therapy. Many persons with HIV infection are diagnosed late in the disease process. We conducted a study of 119 persons recently diagnosed with HIV infection to determine the association of health literacy and other factors with delayed diagnosis. Patients were recruited from four publicly funded facilities in Houston, Texas. Health literacy was measured with the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA). Delayed diagnosis was assessed by CD4 cell count at diagnosis. Sixty-five percent of patients had CD4 cell counts 350 cells/mm3 or less. Twenty-eight percent had inadequate health literacy, but literacy was not associated with CD4 cell count. Thirty-eight percent were tested because they "felt sick." In multivariable analysis, fernale gender (p = 0.005), reason tested other than "felt sick" (p < 0.001), and marijuana use (p = 0.004) and other illicit drug use (p = 0.01) were predictors of having a higher CD4 cell count at diagnosis. These results confirm that late diagnosis of HIV is common arnong users of public health care facilities. Expanded routine testing for HIV infection is needed with attention directed to men and persons who may not recognize that they are at risk for contracting HIV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases