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Socio-demographic and psychosocial correlates of psychiatric morbidity in HIV positive patients in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria

Author: 
Chukwujekwu, D. C., Ogbe, F. E. and Lasebikan, V. O.
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a lethal neuro-medical disorder caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The consequences of HIV/AIDS are myriad and devastating, but there has been paucity of studies on psychiatric morbidity in HIV/AIDS patients in the undeveloped world. Aim: The study aims to investigate the socio-demographic and psychosocial correlates of psychiatric morbidity in HIV positive patients in a tertiary hospital in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Methods: Using a systematic sampling method, 353 subjects were recruited into two groups; HIV positive subjects from the RVD clinic and HIV negative subjects from the GOPD clinic. They were assessed using a self-designed questionnaire to elicit socio-demographic and clinical variables. The subjects were screened for psychological distress with a 12 item General Health Questionnaire and diagnoses made using Present State Examination (PSE) manual (version 10). Data was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS, version 15). Results: Of the 241 subjects assessed, 89 were HIV positive and 152 HIV negative. Significantly more HIV positive patients practiced safe sex, denied the history of multiple sexual partners during the one month period before the interview and admitted to using psychoactive substances. Significantly more females presented with psychiatric morbidity and the only significant determinant of psychiatric morbidity was the presence of organized social support. Conclusion: In view of the monumental and diverse challenges raised by HIV/AIDS, effort should not be spent only on the chemotherapeutic management of this global nightmare but there’s urgent need to step up the management of the resultant associated psychosocial challenges.

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