Socioeconomic consequences of HIV/AIDS in the family system
Introduction: HIV/AIDS can lead to poverty affecting particularly women and young people and can halt or reverse socioeconomic development of a country.
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the socioeconomic consequences of HIV/AIDS within the family.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out among patients admitted in in-patient department and those attending integrated counseling and testing centre (ICTC) of School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata. Data were gathered by interviewing the patients by using a predesigned questionnaire.
Results: For prolonged duration and severity of disease, higher proportion of indoor patients reported loss of job, decreased family income, increased expenditure for care seeking, and faced greater economic consequences, reflected by selling assets. Loss of job was mainly due to illness (86.8%), disclosure of serostatus (13.2%), and predominantly among skilled workers. Assets were sold mainly to meet the cost of own illness for indoor patients, but more to meet the expenditure for husband’s illness, in the case of ICTC patients. High school dropout seen in both groups was mainly due to economic reasons. HIV/AIDS status was known to other members of family for 84.8% of indoor patients out of which 15.4% experienced rejection by family members. Out of 72 ever married women indoor patients whose in-laws were aware of their HIV/AIDS status, 41.7%, 40.9%, and 33.33% reportedly were blamed for spouse’s illness, and had strained relation with in-laws and spouse, respectively.
Conclusion: Intensive behavior change communication and provision of care and support are required to curb AIDS-related stigma, discrimination, and to maintain physical, mental, and social wellbeing of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, people living with HIV/AIDS, sero-status, socioeconomic consequences