By Kibuka Grace
HIV/AIDS remains a serious global health menace. It is incurable once got. Some people die within three years whereas some live as long as 15 years or more from the time of sero-conversion, not necessarily using antiretrovirals. Understanding the causes for this variation was therefore very desirous.
To basically analyze how the various bio, behavioural and socio-economic factors affect longevity among HIV/AIDS patients.
Retrospective descriptive study.
Sixty four (64) informed consent male and female HIV/AIDS patients above 15 years attending The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) clinics Mulago and Entebbe, Uganda were studied.
The health of HIV/AIDS patients generally deteriorated with increasing period from the time of sero-conversion though some patients ‘resisted’. Most patients maintained fair daily activity participation regardless of the time they lived with HIV. Other-wise, taking considerable amounts (about 2 litres) of water/juice a day, high patients’ involvement in medication, herbal drugs use, occasional alcohol use, high hard personality levels, ample resting (9-11 hours), high education attainment (secondary level +), regular income source, and not being married were healthy for patients. Also, males appeared better HIV/AIDS “resistors” than females whereas excessive high body weights and resting duration (12+ hours), poor healthy history, un-necessary drugs use, frequent alcohol consumption, underground water use, idleness, widow-ship and relationships separations were unhealthy to patients. Those below 30 and above 44 years of age were very much susceptible to poor health compared to the mid- aged (30-44). Finally, social support level and marriage showed no significant effect on the patients’ health status.
Possession of favourable qualities; mid age, moderate body weight, hard personality, better learned and income levels, knowledge of and accessibility to helpful interventions enabled HIV/AIDS patients live longer, quite well and still productive lives.
The author is a psychologist, public health research specialist, and research associate at IMI.