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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2013 Sep;27(9):529-32. doi: 10.1089/apc.2013.0185.

A pilot study to engage and counsel HIV-positive African American youth via telehealth technology.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA.


Abstract Antiretroviral nonadherence is a strong determinant of virologic failure and is negatively correlated with survival. HIV-positive African American youth have lower antiretroviral adherence and treatment engagement than other populations. We assessed the feasibility and acceptability of a telehealth (remote videoconferencing) medication counseling intervention as an innovative approach to address these disparities. HIV-positive African American youth (18-29 years old) on antiretrovirals were enrolled in a telehealth medication counseling session, followed by a semi-structured qualitative interview to explore likes/dislikes of the format, modality, and content; potential impact on adherence; privacy issues; and interaction quality. Fourteen participants with a mean age of 24 years, who were 86% male, and had a mean self-reported adherence in the past month of 89%, were interviewed. Participants stated that they liked telehealth, would use it if offered in clinic/research settings, and indicated that their privacy was maintained. Participants described telehealth as convenient and efficient, with positive impact on their knowledge. Telehealth provided a modality to interact with providers that participants described as less intimidating than in-person visits. Telehealth is feasible and acceptable for delivering medication counseling to HIV-positive African American youth when conducted in a controlled clinical setting and may improve quality of patient-provider dialogue. Use of telehealth may lead to more disclosure of treatment difficulties, increased patient comfort, and improved health education.

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