Background and importance Prejudices about sexually transmitted infections and misinformation about their transmission cause people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to continue to suffer social stigma. Social stigma can have a significant impact on mental health, global health, adherence to antiretroviral treatment and the quality of life (QoL) of these individuals.
Aim and objectives The aim of this study was to analyse the impact of knowledge about HIV transmission on the QoL of people living with HIV (PLHIV) to justify future interventions.
Material and methods Multicentre (5 centres), observational, prospective and cross-sectional study. We included adult PLHIV on antiretroviral treatment. Participants with less than 3 months since diagnosis were excluded.
The QoL was quantified using the validated WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire, consisting of 26 questions, directly scored from 1 to 5, with the exception of questions 3, 4 and 26, which are inversely scored. Results are directly proportional to the QoL. This questionnaire is divided into components: ‘Self-Perception of QoL’ (SPQoL), ‘Self-Perception of Health’ (SPH), ‘Physical Health’ (PH), ‘Psychological’ (Ps), ‘Social Relationships’ (SR) and ‘Environment’ (E). Results for each component are achieved by totalling the values of the items that comprise it.
Knowledge about HIV transmission was evaluated using an ad hoc questionnaire of 20 statements, to be responded to with ‘true’ or ‘false’. Results were the percentages of correct answers, considering as optimal knowledge results greater than or equal to 80%.
Associations between quantitative and qualitative variables were analysed with Student’s t-test or Mann-Whitney U test, based on normality tests. P values under 5% were considered statistically significant.
Results We enrolled 133 participants, aged 20–81 years old (&xbar;=46.8±11.7); 115 men, 16 women and 2 non-binary people.
The mean WHOQOL-BREF score was 3.54/5 (SPQoL=3.7/5; SPH=3.6/5; PH=3.5/5; Ps=3.6/5; SR=3.3/5; E=3.6/5).
The knowledge evaluation obtained an average of 87.1±10.6% of correct answers. 104 participants (78.2%) had optimal knowledge.
PLHIV with suboptimal knowledge reported worse QoL (Δ&xbar;=9.1, 95% CI 3.4 to 14.9; p=0.002) including SPQoL (Δ&xbar;=0.6, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.9; p=0.001), PH (Δ&xbar;=2.4, 95% CI 0.7 to 4.2; p=0.006), SR (Δ&xbar;=1.3, 95% CI 0.3 to 2.3; p=0.011) and E (Δ&xbar;=2.9, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.6; p=0.002).
Conclusion and relevance The results of this study justify the need for health education interventions in PLHIV who have suboptimal knowledge about HIV transmission in order to improve their quality of life.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest
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