HIV myths, misconceptions, stigma (3) Literacy

3 December, 2021

Although "it is shocking that, 40 years into the HIV and AIDS epidemic, myths and misconceptions are still so widespread", there are some potential remedies for low literacy.

From the American Medical Academy training book on health literacy discussing the USA National Adult Literacy Survey 2003 :

"Imagine that you are one of the nearly 50% of adults in the United States that has NALS level 1 or level 2 literacy skills. You can’t read and understand an article in a newspaper. You can’t fill in a government application for Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. You can’t follow a bus schedule or a map. You don’t really understand what a cancer-screening test is, or the meaning of words like “rectum,” “tumor,” “prostate gland,” or “mammogram.” Perhaps English is your second language"

However citizens do understand pictures and cartoons though to admit this is risking low social status and stigma. Perhaps citizens of the top 3% of literacy creating literature for citizens of the bottom 50% of health literature is a mistake?

AMA health literacy book: "Nearly all doctoral-level clinicians fall within NALS level 5, but fewer than 5% of all adult Americans have literacy skills at this level. In fact, more than 20% of American adults have only level 1 skills, and another 27% score at level 2. This means that nearly half of the US population is either functionally illiterate or marginally literate"

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT