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Medical Journal of Zambia

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Social Wellbeing Predictor of illness behavior among HIV seropositive individuals

ML Imasiku

Abstract


Objective: The objective of the present study was to compare the social wellbeing of HIV seropositive individuals and individuals the normative population who are not HIV positive to find out how social support affects physical well-being.
Design: Amultiple group design was used to assess the intensity and impact of social support on HIV seropositive individuals, and individuals from the normative population. The study utilized a cohort method which lasted a period of four years.
Main outcome measure: Social support and physical wellbeing
Results: Totals of 120 subjects - drawn from different organizations/institutions in Zambia and India were enrolled into the study. The descriptive analysis of Indian participants shows that HIV seropositive who received inadequate social support obtained 65% on somatic symptoms while individuals from the normative population obtained 43.3% From Zambia 67% of the HIV seropositive individuals who received inadequate social support experienced somatic symptoms in the recent past as against 50% individuals from the normative population. Regarding social support from friends and family, the 'F' ratio for diagnosis and nationality was significant at 0.01 revealing that HIV+ individuals obtained the least social support. Correlation between the level of physical illness behavior [somatic symptoms] and social support from friends was found to be -0.389 while that for social support from family was - 0.307. This indicated that physical illness behavior is negatively and significantly correlated with perceived social support from friends and family.
Conclusion: When the level of social support is perceived to be high by an individual, then it's likely that physical illness behavior will be low because those who had adequate social support from either their friends or families had less illness behaviour. The results therefore illustrate that less levels of social support and physical illness behavior seem to co-exist. Therefore provision of adequate social support should be included in the management and treatment of HIVseropositive individuals in order to enhance their quality of life.

Keywords: Social support, somatic symptoms, HIV seropositive




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