Friday, 20 July 2007

Biggest stress for HIV-positives: fear of death

`Biggest stress for HIV-positives: fear of death

Khushboo Sandhu

Chandigarh, July 5: The stress levels among those suffering from HIV-positive as well as the health care providers (HCP) is very high.While the biggest fear People Living with HIV (PLHIV) experienced wasthe fear of death, the HCPs feared contracting the disease the most.This was revealed in a study conducted by Dr Upneet Lalli and DrAvnish Jolly on the impact of HIV on the community.

The study was conducted on 28 PLHIV and 38 HCP from Chandigarh andPunjab. Among the HCP, nine were PLHIV. The data was conductedthrough a questionnaire which had two parts. Part A covered aspectsof knowledge, attitudes, emotions and feelings related to HIV issues.Part B covered policy issues, related to health care, employment andreproductive and family life.

According to the study, around 60 per cent respondents feel that theyare were facing discrimination from the community. Fifty per centfelt they were being discriminated by the medical staff.

A large majority of the respondents were of the opinion that HIV-positive persons have the right to continue in employment, marry andhave the right to have children. However, they also felt that suchpeople should be barred from adopting children. As many as 96 percent respondents said HIV-positive children as well as children ofHIV+ parents should be sent to normal schools.

Around 57 per cent of the respondents said they went into depressionon discovering they were HIV-positive. Some went into denial or wereashamed and angry. Now their biggest fear is death followed bydependency, stigma, loss of job, loss of family support and rejectionby society. The reaction from HCP, some of whom have HIV, is alsosimilar. Children between the age of 10-18 years should be informedabout the use of condoms by their teachers or counsellors. They alsofeel that counselling should be provided to the families.

Dr Jolly said they have sought responses at the national andinternational level so that a policy could be formulated on how tohelp these people. One of the biggest problems is the high stresslevel. These people need to be taught techniques to cope with stressand be given training in life skills.

No comments: