The use and impact of a computer-based support system for people living with AIDS and HIV infection.

D. H. Gustafson*, R. P. Hawkins, E. W. Boberg, E. Bricker, S. Pingree, C. L. Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


CHESS (the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) is an interactive, computer-based system to support people facing AIDS/HIV Infection and other health-related crises or concerns. CHESS provides information, referral to service providers, support in making tough decisions and networking to experts and others facing the same concerns. CHESS is designed to improve access to health and human services for people who would otherwise face psychological, social, economic or geographic barriers to receiving services. CHESS has been evaluated in a random-assignment study with over 200 men and women living with AIDS and HIV infection. When CHESS was placed in subjects' homes for 3-6 months, use of CHESS was extremely heavy, with the average subject using CHESS 138 times for 39 hours. Compared with a control group which did not receive CHESS, subjects who used CHESS reported significantly higher quality of life in several dimensions, including social support and cognitive functioning. Users also reported significant reductions in some types of health care costs, especially inpatient services (hospitalizations). All segments of the study population used and benefited from CHESS, including women, minorities and those subjects with lower levels of education. Thus, CHESS appears to be an effective means of delivering education and support to the diverse populations which are affected by AIDS and HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-608
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings / the ... Annual Symposium on Computer Application [sic] in Medical Care. Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care
StatePublished - Dec 23 1994


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