ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Health Information Services Available for People Living With HIV/AIDS: Perspectives of Library and Information Professionals

Bharat Mehra and Kendra S. Albright

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Abstract

UNAIDS (http://www.unaids.org/en/Regions_Countries/Regions/) has estimated that the number of people living with HIV in the United States, at the end of 2003, exceeded one million for the first time. Despite the increasing transmission of HIV, the number of AIDS deaths in the United States has been comparatively low in relation to other countries; about 30,000, due to the availability of antiretroviral drugs that are available. In order to take advantage of drug therapies, however, people need to be informed about their availability, cost, use, and other related information including insurance coverage options, side-effects, short term and long term consequences, as well as the existence of supporting health information and services that are available in their communities. Further, people who are well-informed are better able to understand how the infection is transmitted and measures of prevention that are available to them. Adequate marketing, advertising, and dissemination strategies for health information support services should be available to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs), and to the broader public at large, in addition to the availability of life-saving and supporting health information services themselves. This study explores the HIV/AIDS health information support services that are available within the local community of Knoxville, Tennessee. It presents preliminary findings of a feasibility study using a community informatics (CI) approach to examine the provision of health information services for PLWHAs. CI principles involve exploring the use and application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to empower and enable local and global communities to meet their goals and aspirations. Although there are many stakeholders identified for inclusion in the project (e.g., PLWHAs, health care service providers, academic community at the University of Tennessee, community leaders and activists, and faith-based organizations), findings reported in this paper are based on results of focus groups with local library and information professionals. Preliminary findings identify existing HIV/AIDS information services, users of these services, barriers and challenges to effective use, and the role of health information professionals in the context of developing ideal information support services for PLWHAs.


  
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