Changes in Health-Promoting Behavior Following Diagnosis with HIV

Prevalence and Correlates in a National Probability Sample

Published in: Health Psychology, v. 20, no. 5, Sep. 2001, p. 351-360

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2000

by Rebecca L. Collins, David E. Kanouse, Allen Gifford, J. Walton Senterfitt, Mark A. Schuster, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Martin F. Shapiro, Neil S. Wenger

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Diet, exercise, smoking, and substance use patterns affect the course of illness and quality of life for people with HIV. In interviews with a national probability sample of 2,864 persons receiving HIV care, it was found that most had made health-promoting changes in one or more of these behaviors since diagnosis. Many reported increased physical activity (43%) and improved diet (59%). Forty-nine percent of cigarette smokers quit or cut down; 80% of substance users did so. Desire for involvement in one's HIV care and information seeking-positive coping were the most consistent correlates of change. Other correlates varied by health practice but included health status, emotional well-being, demographics, and attitudes toward other aspects of HIV care. Most people with HIV improve their health behavior following diagnosis, but more might be helped to do so by targeting these behaviors in future interventions

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