A Controlled Study of Effect of Counseling on Psychological Symptoms Among People Living with HIV/AIDS in Uyo, Nigeria
AbstractAbstract: Psychological symptoms are common complications of HIV/AIDS. More often, decision making during management neglects the use of counseling, a common but important therapy in people living with HIV/AIDS. The increasing morbidity due to maladjustment to supportive care often results in poor quality of life. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of counseling in people living with HIV/AIDS and compare the levels of anxiety and depression in them. Four hundred and twenty newly diagnosed persons living with HIV/AIDS referred to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital in January 2007 were randomly divided into two groups; 1 and 2. Group 1 was instantly assessed for symptoms of anxiety and depression, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), while, Group 2 was assessed one month later after undergoing intensive counseling. A total of 392 respondents, consisting of 210 in group 1 and 182 in group 2 were analyzed, 28 (13.3%) respondents in group 2 defaulted from the clinic and were excluded from the study. The sociodemographic characteristics of the respondents in both groups were similar. Majority, 162 (77.1%) respondents in group 1 and 137 (58.8%) in group 2 aged between 20-49 years. Although, anxiety and depression were markedly reduced in 137 (34.9%) and 35 (19.2%) respondents in group 2 with counseling compared to 199 (50.8%) and 90 (42.8%) respondents in group 1 without counseling, the demographic variables of the respondents
did not influence the level of anxiety and depression. However, depression was high in 24 (54.9%) respondents in group 2 who had counseling and were unemployed; depression was associated with occupation (P<0.04). Counseling reduces psychological symptoms in people living with HIV/AIDS. Therefore its use should be encouraged in people living with
the disease to boost self-esteem needed for improved quality of life.