HIV Status Disclosure Among People Living with HIV in the Era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy (cART) OC14-OC16
Dr. Basavaprabhu Achappa,
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, India.
Introduction: As patients with HIV live longer due to Combination Anti-Retroviral Therapy (cART) serostatus disclosure becomes an important issue. Disclosure can have both positive and negative outcomes. Disclosure of HIV status has been associated with better adherence to medication and reduction in levels of psychological distress. Stigma and disruption of family relationships are barriers for disclosure. Most studies regarding disclosure status have been conducted in West. There are many cultural differences in Indian society when compared to west. There is a dearth of research in the field of disclosure of HIV infection in India.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of HIV status disclosure among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in South India. Materials and Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was done in the hospital attached to Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Mangalore, India from Mayâ€“June 2013. PLHIV of age more than 18 years were included. During the study period 111 consecutive patients who consented for the study were enrolled.
Statistical Analysis: Data was collected using a pre-tested interviewer administered semi structured questionnaire. Data collected was analysed using SPSS Version 11.5 statistical software. Descriptive statistics were done and the results are presented as proportions and mean.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 44.86 Â± 10.8 years. Majority of the study subjects were men 76 (68.4%). Out of 111 study subjects, 102 (91.9%) had disclosed their HIV status to at least one person while 9 (8.1%) had not disclosed their HIV status to anyone. Disclosure on doctorâ€™s advice was the main reason for 56 (54.9%) participants to disclose their HIV status. The main reason for non-disclosure was fear of shame in family.
Conclusion: Disclosure rate was high in our study in the era of cART. Society must stop discriminating against PLHIV so that they can disclose their serostatus and gain access to care and treatment services without any fear of stigma. In our study the main reason for disclosure was doctorâ€™s advice which clearly states the importance of the commitment of doctors in creating awareness among PLHIV about the need for voluntary disclosure.