Self-Care Crucial for Patients with HIV


Health care professionals should provide resources that help patients with HIV practice self-care.

Self-care can be defined as the strategies utilized by individual patients to manage health or to prevent or detect illness. Self-care is especially important for those living with chronic illness such as HIV, both to manage symptoms and also to improve quality of life.

Although there have been several studies examining the self-care strategies of patients living with HIV, those studies did not specifically focus on the sources of information for those strategies. In addition, the most recent studies were conducted about 15 years ago, prior to the availability of smartphones, which have enabled easier access to information sources such as the internet, and the widespread use of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), which has changed the course of HIV from a death sentence to a chronic, manageable disease state.

Due to this scarcity of recent and relevant data about the information sources of self-care strategies used by patients living with HIV, Rebecca Schnall, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at Columbia University School of Nursing, set out to investigate this question along with colleagues.

Schnall explains that the purpose of this study was “to identify the helpful information sources for self-care strategies and assess demographic differences in the types of information sources sought for these strategies” among patients living with HIV.

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