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Burning Issue of HIV/AIDS: A Psychosocial Study

Background: HIV/AIDS is associated with psychological problems, which may arise due to social stigma attached to the disease.

Materials and Methods: A Cross-sectional study was conducted for one year during 2007 among 150 adult individuals (75 males & 75 females) suffering from HIV/AIDS to study depression and psychosocial aspects associated with the disease. An interview schedule was developed by the investigators to study the social problems in individuals with HIV/AIDS and Mastering Depression in Primary Care Version 2.2 instrument was used to assess depression. The participants were selected from HIV/AIDS clinic in Department of Microbiology at I.M.S. in Beneras Hindu University of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and in the general population of Sikkim residing within 5 Kilometres radius from the Sikkim Manipal University of Health, Medical and Technological Sciences by using the snowball technique along with quota sampling for gender. Data was tabulated and analyzed by using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 10.0 for Windows. Chi-square test was applied for comparisons. Here, a p-value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: All participants with HIV/AIDS in this study, tried to maintain secrecy about their disease although only 26.67% of them faced social stigma. Majority (40%) of the respondents with HIV were avoiding social gathering. It was also observed that majority (40%) of them were rejected by their friends and relatives when they came to know about the disease. It was found that all respondents infected with HIV/AIDS were suffering from depression. Females showed higher level of depression than males. The major aspects of depression were apathy, sleep disturbance, pessimism, fatigue, irritability, social withdrawal and dejection.

Conclusion: This study revealed that HIV/AIDS infection is both a medical as well as psychosocial issue. In order to provide the most effective care, the care-givers of HIV/AIDS patients should recognize that both these physiological and psychological factors in HIV/AIDS are of equal importance.

Author(s): Ankur Barua , Yasoda Sharma, Mary Anne Basilio

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