C. Ann Gakumo, PhD, RN

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The relationship between health literacy, health numeracy, and cognition to HIV health outcomes

With the funds received from the 2011-2012 DSA, Assistant Professor C. Ann Gakumo, PhD, RN will recruit 120 patients living with HIV to participate in a pilot study to determine their levels of health literacy, health numeracy, as well as cognitive function.


For patients who are living with HIV, health literacy and health numeracy are found to be associated with improved health outcomes. However, cognitive problems occur frequently in adults with HIV, and cognitive functioning may compound the issues surrounding health literacy and health numeracy. Health numeracy is particularly relevant for individuals with HIV, in that much of their health information is quantitative i.e., the number of pills and times when they are taken, CD4+ lymphocyte count, viral load etc.

The relationships between health numeracy, health literacy, and cognition with regards to health outcomes have yet to be fully understood. Examining these relationships and the potential influences they have on health care decisions will help inform future interventions in the promotion of health and wellness in populations living with HIV.
Specifically, Gakumo hopes that the findings from this pilot study will inform the development and tailoring of a health literacy/numeracy intervention to improve HIV treatment adherence.

For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Gakumo at cagakumo@uab.edu

Related publications

Fazeli, P. L., Marceaux, J. C., Vance, D. E., Slater, L., & Long, C. A. (2011). Predictors of cognition in adults with HIV: implications for nursing practice and research. J Neurosci Nurs, 43(1), 36-50

Related presentations

Gakumo, C. A., Vance, D. E., Byrd, E. M., Byrd, J. C., & Estrada, C. A. (2011).  Assessing Health Numeracy within the Context of HIV in a Predominantly African American Sample:  Do Numbers Count?  Poster session presented at the 3rd Health Literacy Annual Research Conference, Chicago, IL.

Gakumo, C. A., Vance, D. E., & Moneyham, L. D. (2011).  Developing a health numeracy intervention for treatment adherence in HIV+ African Americans.  Poster session presented at the 10th Annual Institute for Healthcare Advancement Health Literacy Conference, Irvine, CA.