Psychosocial factors and quality of life in HIV
- Australian Psychological Society
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australian Psychologist, 2022, 57, (3), pp. 167-173
- Issue Date:
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The trajectory of effective biomedical management means HIV is now considered a manageable chronic, not terminal, illness. However, despite the biomedical advances, many people living with HIV (PLHIV) continue to experience psychosocial challenges which are associated with poorer quality of life (QoL). This review explores the literature concerning psychosocial factors contributing to poorer QoL among PLHIV. The findings suggest that stigma/discrimination, social disconnectedness, and mental health difficulties remain prevalent psychosocial issues for this population, and typically occur comorbidly. Psychosocial comorbidities have compounding deleterious effects on QoL and can impede the individual’s capacity to engage in medical care, creating major barriers to sustained biomedical management. Consequently, HIV management has evolved towards a multidisciplinary model of long-term condition management, whereby psychosocial services play an integral role. This narrative review outlines the important role of mental health practitioners (and other psychosocial services) in HIV management, providing a point of intervention for clinical services. KEY POINTS: What is already known about this topic: Successful biomedical management of HIV has allowed PLHIV to live longer. However, the literature suggests several significant psychosocial issues remain. HIV is associated with a range of unique psychosocial factors that are related to a diminished QoL in this population. These include the deleterious effects of stigma/discrimination, social disconnectedness, and mental health issues on QoL among PLHIV. What this paper adds: This narrative review highlights the impact of multiple psychosocial comorbidities on QoL amongst PLHIV. The review highlights the important role of mental health practitioners (and other psychosocial services) in HIV management. The paper provides points of intervention for clinical services to improve QoL among PLHIV.
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