Nearly half of the Europeans living with HIV are dissatisfied with their lives according to research just published by the EMHF.
The final data from the European Men’s Health Forum’s (EMHF) European HIV-related Quality of Life Review, which involved over 500 online respondants, was presented at the 3rd International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Rio on 25-27 July.
While respondents believed that many aspects of drug treatment had dramatically improved since they first started receiving therapy, they felt that areas of emotional wellbeing, work and social life needed attention. In particular, many respondents still hold concerns about the potential effects of disclosing their HIV status on their ability to maintain social networks and to pursue career opportunities.
Women were more likely to be dissatisfied than men. Across all measures of quality of life (experience of health services, treatment, physical and emotional wellbeing, work and social life), at least 10% more women than men expressed more dissatisfaction/less satisfaction. Women were particularly dissatisfied with social life and work aspects.
Women and men also differed when asked to rank the aspects they wished to see improved. Male respondents mentioned:
the treatment of side effects
emotional and physical wellbeing,
the ease of medication intake and
the HIV discrimination.
On the other hand, women stressed:
the treatment of side effects and
the ease of medication intake.
Director of the EMHF Erick Savoye said: 'The emergence of strong gendered patterns of dissatisfaction tends to indicate that considerations for the respective male and female quality of life expectations should be a key determinant in ensuring the effectiveness of new health and social policy measures.
'This study demonstrates that gender can be more than just a sex indicator to be controlled for. Gender and health behavioural theories can be particularly useful to inform the elaboration and analysis of such projects. More should be done to develop larger scale research in this way.'
The study, which began in 2004, consolidated knowledge from previous surveys and through the use of gender as a fresh angle of analysis, aimed to provide useful keys to understanding expectations from the HIV community for the future.
Several dimensions which had never brought together before in a single multi-country study were bought together in the questionnaire which was open to all HIV positive adults residing in Europe. An online and paper questionnaire in English was piloted from July to October 2004, and was promoted to the eligible groups with the support of over 20 HIV patients’ organisations. The data collection continued from November 2004 to March 2005, during which period the questionnaire was translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and received the approval of the UK Multi-centre Research and Ethics Committee.