Abstract Advances in information technology are revolutionizing medical patient education and the Internet is becoming a major source of information for people with chronic medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS. However, many AIDS patients do not have equal access to the Internet and are therefore at an information disadvantage, particularly minorities, persons of low-income levels and individuals with limited education. This paper describes the development and pilot testing of a workshop-style intervention designed to close the digital divide in AIDS care. Grounded in the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) model of health behaviour change, we developed an intervention for persons with no prior history of using the Internet. The intervention included instruction in using hardware and search engines, motivational enhancement to increase interest and perceived relevance of the Internet, and skills for critically evaluating and using health information accessed via the Internet. Participants were also introduced to communication and support functions of the Internet including e-mail, newsgroups and chat groups. Pilot testing demonstrated feasibility, acceptability and promise for closing the digital divide in HIV/AIDS care using a relatively brief and intensive theory-based intervention that could be implemented in community settings.

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