Browsing 1 Published Research and Commentary by Subjects
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An investigation into the health-related quality of life of individuals living with HIV who are receiving HAART.The health authorities have recently accepted the routine provision of highly active antiretroviral therapy to persons living with AIDS in South Africa. There is a need to investigate the impact of HAART on the health-related quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in a resource-poor environment, as this will have an influence on compliance and treatment outcome. The aim of this study was to explore whether HAART is efficacious in improving the self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a group of PWLA in WHO Stages 3 and 4 living in a resource-poor community. A quasi-experimental, prospective repeated measures design was used to monitor the HRQoL over time in participants recruited to an existing HAART programme. The HRQoL of 117 participants was determined through the use of the Xhosa version of the EQ-5D and measurements were taken at baseline, one, six and 12 months. At the time of the 12-month questionnaire, 95 participants had been on HAART for 12 months. Not all participants attended all follow-up visits, but only two participants had withdrawn from the HAART programme, after two or three months. At baseline, the rank order of problems reported in all domains of the EQ-5D was significantly greater than at 12 months. The mean score on the global rating of health status increased significantly (p < 0.001) from a mean of 61.7 (SD = 22.7) at baseline to 76.1 at 12 months (SD = 18.5) It is concluded that, even in a resource-poor environment, HRQoL can be greatly improved by HAART, and that the possible side effects of the drugs seem to have a negligible impact on the wellbeing of the subjects. This bodes well for the anticipated roll-out of HAART within the public health sector in South Africa.
Mental health in HIV-positive pregnant women: results from Angola.Our objective was to assess the mental health status of pregnant women who are HIV-positive, compared with other groups of pregnant women. We evaluated pregnant HIV-positive women attending the Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) HIV clinic in Malanje, Angola (N = 23). The control group consisted of pregnant women coming for antenatal clinic consultations who were not known to be HIV-positive (N=134). To assess mental health, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was used. A score of three or greater was considered to indicate significant emotional distress. We also examined determinants of emotional distress in logistic multivariate regression models. We found that the mean score on the GHQ-12 for the HIV-positive group was more than twice the mean score of the controls, indicating poorer mental health in the HIV-positive group. Two-thirds of HIV-positive women had significant emotional distress, more than twice that in the control group. As well as HIV status, marital status was a strong independent predictor of mental health status, with married women experiencing less emotional distress. Thus, in our sample, pregnant women who were HIV-positive had a much poorer mental health status than the controls. Strategies to improve the mental health of HIV-positive mothers must be implemented and evaluated; efforts to decrease the levels of stigma and discrimination in this population are of key importance.