Improving the health literacy of patients with HIV/AIDS in China
Nurses play an important role in AIDS prevention and control in China.
Nurses caring for HIV/AIDS patients in six cities in Guangxi province, China, found that patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) had problems with treatment compliance. In 2012, treatment compliance in these cities was on average 90.2% (ART compliance is required to reach 95% so that satisfactory results can be acquired). This reduced the effectiveness of treatment leading to poorer health outcomes.
After reviewing the literature review and consulting with patients, Ms Du Liqun, Ms Huang Jinping, Ms Wei Caiyun and Ms Zhu Fengmei from Chinese Guangxi AIDS clinical treatment centre found that this low rate was a result of patients’ inadequate information, knowledge and understanding which prevented them from making informed decisions regarding their treatment.
In response, the nursing team established health education procedures and targeted patients with medicine compliance problems. Staff received specialized training to improve their skills and capabilities in educating patients and the team was able to deploy staff to provide on-site supervision and technical guidance to the designated hospitals including dealing with side effects of treatment, consulting for compliance and data reporting.
By increasing the number of follow-up occasions, introducing improved health literacy interventions, as well as viral load monitoring and surveillance, the treatment compliance rate increased from 90.2% in 2012 to 95.5% in 2016.