EMHF Director Erick Savoye presented the results of the Forum's survey on quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS at the ceremony awards of the European Photographic competition One Vision in June in Brussels.
The survey, carried out by the Forum with the support of Bristol-Myers Squibb in 5 European countries, fitted perfectly with One Vision's objectives to fight against stigmatization.
Receiving well-over 500 replies, the survey revealed that just 52.1% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied their quality of life, and that nearly 8% were still very dissatisfied with it.
Respondents expressed an overall satisfaction with their treatments considering that the ease of medication intake or the reduction of side effects such as diarrhoea, dizziness and insomnia or anaemia were among the top most important aspects of a treatment.
According to the respondents, stigmatisation and feeling of decreasing support after the HIV positive diagnosis remain important emotional and social aspects. Embarrassment about their status and the fear of disclosure, especially with employer and non-immediate family, are the feelings most expressed by people living with HIV/AIDS. 98% of respondents also declared having told their husband, wife or partner about their condition, but found that this affected their relationship and ability to care for the family. Finally, government and social services are perceived as providing the least support to people affected by HIV/AIDS unlike patients’ organisations.
Some areas such as overall health awareness, support from social network, or religious and spiritual beliefs were reported to change for better, while others such as outlook of life, self esteem or economic are said to have worsened. When respondents were asked to rank the top aspects the thought were in need of melioration, treatment side effects, emotional and physical well being and discrimination came first.
"These are only the first few results!" Erick Savoye said. "We are discovering more and more about new angles influencing the quality of life of men and women living with HIV in Europe, and we hope to put this new information to good use", he concluded.
The detailed results of the survey will be presented at the International Aids Society Conference in Rio on 24-27 July 2005, and the gender aspects of it at the World Congress on Men’s Health and Gender taking place in Vienna on 30 September-1 October. Then between November and December, the EMHF will develop a report including policy recommendations that will be presented to representatives of the EU Institutions and WHO Europe, and to national authorities for input into their policy agenda.
For more information about the One Vision initiative, you can visit www.onevision2005.org
In December 2004, the EMHF published the interim results of the survey. Download it by clicking here.