The Psychological Status of Hiv-Positive People and Their Psychosocial Experience in Eastern China

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2009 British HIV Association

DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2009.00770.x HIV Medicine (2010), 11, 253–259

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

The psychological status of HIV-positive people and their psychosocial experiences in eastern China C Jin,1 G Zhao,2 F Zhang,3 L Feng4 and N Wu5 1 State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Disease, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, China, 2Hangzhou Center For Disease Control and Prevention, Hangzhou 310006, China, 3National Center for AIDS Prevention and Control (NCAIDS), Beijing 100050, China, 4Department of Base Medicine, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310006, China and 5State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Disease, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, China Objectives

The aim of the study was to investigate the psychological status and the psychosocial experiences of HIV-positive people using Symptom Check List 90 (SCL-90) in eastern China. Methods

Two hundred and fourteen HIV-positive people and 200 controls were recruited to the study. Participants were given an anonymous questionnaire which included questions pertaining to demography, SCL-90 and psychosocial experiences. Results

The mean subscale scores for SCL-90 in the HIV-positive group were all higher than those of the control group (Po0.001), especially for depression, anxiety, obsessive–compulsive disorder and hostility. Female HIV-positive individuals had significantly higher depression and anxiety scores (Po0.05) and more scores higher than 2.0 than male HIV-positive individuals. The average number of subscales with mean scores higher than 2.0 was 4.1 for female HIV-positive individuals and 3.7 for male HIV-positive individuals. The most common psychosocial experiences related to HIV infection were fear (36.9%) and helplessness (31.8%). 90.2% of HIV-positive people would not tell others about their disease because of fear of discrimination against family members (42.2%), exclusion by community members (26.9%) and abandonment (23.3%). Discrimination from acquaintances (38.8%) was a main stressor in the HIVpositive individuals’ daily life. Most members of HIV-positive individuals’ communities expressed negative attitudes: alienation, coldness, aversion and fear. 38.3% of the HIV-positive participants reported that their family members had been discriminated against. Conclusions

The results demonstrate that HIV-positive people in eastern China live in a negative psychosocial environment and suffer from psychological distress. It is necessary to provide psychological interventions for people living with AIDS and to educate community members in order to improve the psychosocial environment. Keywords: HIV, psychology, psychosocial experiences, SCL-90, stigma Accepted 28 July 2009

Introduction
China is facing a crisis in the form of an HIV/AIDS epidemic. The cumulative number of HIV-positive indiviCorrespondence: Dr. Nanping Wu, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Disease, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, China. Tel: 1 86 571 872 36580; fax: 1 86 571 872 36582; e-mail: flwnp@yahoo.com.cn

duals reported at the end of October 2007 was 223 501, including 62 838 cases of AIDS and 22 205 recorded deaths [1]. There are an estimated 700 000 people with HIV infection, most of whom have latent disease and are unregistered at Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCs) or hospitals, which is a real challenge for Chinese health service providers and policy makers. Under the policy of ‘free medical treatment and care’,

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which was adopted by the Chinese government to help AIDS patients in 2003, more than 40 000 AIDS patients nationwide had begun antiretroviral therapy (ART) by the end of 2007 [1,2]. The free ART provides real hope of...
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