AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 799–806 | Cite as

Numeracy Skills Explain Racial Differences in HIV Medication Management

  • Drenna Waldrop-ValverdeEmail author
  • Chandra Y. Osborn
  • Allan Rodriguez
  • Russell L. Rothman
  • Mahendra Kumar
  • Deborah L. Jones
Original Paper


Racial disparities in HIV/AIDS are well established and efforts to understand key factors that may explain these differences are needed. Recent evidence suggests that health literacy may contribute to disparities in health behaviors among African American HIV patients. One component of health literacy, numeracy, is emerging as an important skill for successful self management of medications. We therefore tested whether numeracy mediated the effects of race on medication management among HIV seropositive patients. Results showed that poor management of a simulated HIV medication regimen among African Americans and women was mediated by lower numeracy. Poor medication self-management may be a significant root cause for health disparities in African Americans with HIV/AIDS. Whether African American women may be at particular risk requires further study. Interventions to improve HIV medication self-management through addressing numeracy skills may help to narrow the gap in health disparities among African Americans with HIV/AIDS.


African American Disparities Numeracy Medication management 



We would like to thank Raymond L. Ownby, M.D., Ph.D. for his invaluable guidance and suggestions on this manuscript. This study was supported by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health grant number MH74664 to the lead author, D. Waldrop-Valverde.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drenna Waldrop-Valverde
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chandra Y. Osborn
    • 2
  • Allan Rodriguez
    • 3
  • Russell L. Rothman
    • 2
  • Mahendra Kumar
    • 1
  • Deborah L. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Division of General Internal Medicine and Public HealthVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA

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