Examining anxiety and social support in adults diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in a public health clinic in the Western Cape Province
Majozi, Petronella Nondumiso Nompilo
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Globally, and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa the advent of HIV and AIDS has created new inequalities within already challenged health care systems. Chronic illnesses have often been associated with increased prevalence of psychological symptoms. Both national and international studies have found a strong association between psychiatric morbidity and HIV and AIDS. Furthermore, studies have found that social support contributes to positive adjustment of individuals infected with HIV and provides a buffer against the effects of anxiety. The aim of this study was therefore to examine anxiety and social support in adults diagnosed with HIV or AIDS at a public health clinic in the Western Cape. The objectives in relation to the aim were: (1) To determine the prevalence of anxiety in adults diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. (2) To determine the degree of social support, as a component of quality of life,in adults diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. (3) To examine the relationship between anxiety and social support in adults diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. The broad theoretical framework that guides this study is the bio-psycho-social model. A cross-sectional design was used in which 70 participants were recruited using a purposive sampling method. Participants were assessed using well-validated self-administered questionnaires: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale(HADS) and Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q). Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.1. Correlational and inferential statistics were conducted. The findings of this study indicated that participants in this study had higher levels of anxiety (28%) when compared to the general population (15.8%). Participants in this study, indicated a 59% enjoyment and satisfaction with social support, which indicates satisfaction with social support some of the time. There was however no significant relationship between anxiety and social support in this study. HIV intervention efforts should include screening HIV positive individuals for the presence of psychiatric symptoms. Interventions should also include encouraging HIV positive individuals to maintain and expand their social networks.