Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Kristin M. Mattocks; Marysol Asencio

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Campus Access


BACKGROUND: Previous studies suggest that patients who take an active role in their medical decision-making have greater medication adherence and better health outcomes. Little research has been conducted on patient empowerment and medication adherence among HIV-infected patients. The aims of this study were to identify predictors of patient empowerment among HIV-positive veterans and to examine the impact of patient empowerment on highly active antiretroviral (HAART) medication adherence. METHODS: Secondary data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS), a multicenter prospective cohort of HIV-infected veterans were analyzed. Multivariable linear regression analyses were performed to examine patient characteristics associated with patient empowerment and medication adherence. RESULTS: A total of 3272 HIV-positive veterans were included in the study. They had a mean age of 49 with 70% identified as African American and 97% were male. Patients who were less severely ill (lower viral load), younger, more educated, satisfied with their healthcare and reported strong social support networks were more likely to want to know more about their disease and its complications and to be involved in medical decision-making. Patients who were empowered were more likely to be adherent to their HAART medications. CONCLUSIONS: HIV-infected patients who feel empowered about making decisions for their healthcare are more likely to comply with their treatment plans.

Major Advisor

Jane A. Ungemack