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Keywords:

  • health literacy;
  • health outcomes;
  • REALM;
  • HIV/AIDS

Abstract

Inadequate health literacy has been associated with worse health status and more hospitalizations. We examined the influence of personal characteristics and health literacy on body change distress, depressive symptoms, and HIV symptom intensity in a convenience sample of 489 HIV-seropositive adults throughout the United States. Health literacy was measured with the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) instrument. Those with higher health literacy scores reported more body change distress, depressive symptoms, and HIV symptom intensity. Being Latino and having higher health literacy scores were associated with poorer health outcomes. These results challenge the utility of the REALM to examine the relationship between health literacy and adverse health status. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 30:620–627, 2007