Health-information needs of HIV-positive adults in Latin America and the Caribbean: an integrative review of the literature

AIDS Care. 2016 Oct;28(10):1223-9. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2016.1173645. Epub 2016 Apr 21.


An assessment of information needs is essential for care planning for patients living with chronic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The extent to which these assessments have been conducted in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is unknown. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to identify, evaluate, and summarize what research has been conducted to examine patient perceptions of their health-information needs among adults living with HIV in LAC. Using an integrative review methodology, a literature search of six databases was conducted in April and May 2015. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed articles published in English or Spanish that assessed the information needs of HIV-positive patients living in LAC. The quality of included articles was assessed and relevant characteristics of each article were extracted, compared, and presented. Searches returned 1885 citations, 11 of which met inclusion criteria. Studies included were conducted in 8 of 33 countries, used multiple research designs, demonstrated varying needs between populations, and found numerous unmet information needs. Information about HIV in general, methods of infection transmission, antiretroviral medications, other sexually transmitted diseases, and effective coping mechanisms were the most commonly mentioned needs. Healthcare providers were the largest and most reliable source of health information for many participants and it was emphasized that in order for health education to be effective, programs should include both individual and group components. Patients indicated that they may have difficulty processing and using information through an incorrect understanding of medications, not changing risk behaviors, and by stating that information can be overwhelming or poorly communicated. Further research on information needs is warranted so that healthcare providers and organizations may provide the information patients need to appropriately manage their health.

Keywords: Caribbean; HIV/AIDS; Health-information needs; Latin America; health education; needs assessment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caribbean Region
  • Chronic Disease
  • Consumer Health Information*
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy*
  • HIV Seropositivity / transmission*
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Needs Assessment
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission