The psychosocial needs, social support, quality life and adjustment of subjects with HIV/AIDS were assessed using a self-report instrument with 40 items and a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.74. Eighteen patients at varying stages of HIV infection who knew their sero-status served as subjects. Results showed that the needs perceived as most important by HIV/AIDS patient were not met by their most valued sources of social support. Fifteen (83.3%) subjects expressed dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of support received since the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, 12 (66.7%) reported poor social adjustment to the diagnosis, 11 (61.2%) reported low quality of life/wellbeing and 8 (44.4%) reported severe lifestyle changes caused by the disease. Perceived social dysfunction was in four areas – fear of stigma in 15 (83.3%) subjects, lack of satisfying relationship with family in 15 (83.3%) subjects, lack of inner motivation in 12 (66.7%) subjects and social isolation in 12 (66.7%) subjects. Subjects with extrovert personality perceived significantly more lifestyle changes, reported a higher fear of rejection and a lower degree of adjustment to the disease than subjects with introvert personality. Subjects with late-stage HIV infection reported a lower social adjustment to the disease, a lower quality of life and more severe lifestyle changes. Satisfaction with social support correlated significantly with quality of life and social adjustment. It is therefore concluded that the higher the level of satisfaction with social support, the higher the quality of life and social adjustment to HIV/AIDS. The health worker should therefore harness and encourage the provision of qualitative social support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Keywords – Psychosocial needs, Quality of life, Social support.
Global Jnl Medical Sciences Vol.2(2) 2003: 171-175