It helps to be connected: association between HIV self-management and measures of social support


  • K. Banas
  • J. de Wit
  • L. Mao
  • P. Adam


Background: In Australia, nearly 75% of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral treatment (cART), and for over 90% of them the therapy is successful at suppressing the viral load below detectable levels. Consequently, HIV has become a chronic condition, requiring patients to monitor and self-manage their condition throughout their lives. In this study, we explored the demographic, psychological and social variables associated with better self-management in a sample of people living with HIV in Australia. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in a sample of 360 people living with HIV in Australia (96.4% male). Self-management was assessed using Wallston et al.’s HIV self-management scale. Demographic information was collected along with responses to items measuring psychological and psycho-social variables. Findings: Bivariate analyses indicated that people who managed their condition better tended to be more educated, had higher income, did not suffer from financial difficulties, had a live-in partner, experienced less stigma, had access to higher levels of social support, and knew other people living with HIV. When all variables were entered into the model, living with a partner, knowing other people living with HIV, beliefs about cART, and self-reported stigma remained significantly associated with HIV self-management (F(12, 309)=12.47, p<.001, R2=.32),. Discussion: Our results suggest that HIV self-management is associated with a wide range of psycho-social variables. Even though the direction of this relationship cannot be established on the basis of this cross-sectional study, it does highlight the importance of social factors for being able to manage one’s condition.





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