Quality of Life of HIV+ and HIV- People Living in Elandsdoorn, South Africa. And the Role of Social Support, Coping and Stigmatization.
Hoeve, S. ten
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Objective: In cooperation with the Ndlovu Care Group, this master thesis has researched the effects of stigma, social support and coping strategies on the quality of life of HIV+ and HIV- people in a rural area in South Africa, Limpopo. The aim of the study was to find whether there exists a difference in quality of life between HIV+ and HIV- people and whether these difference could be explained by the mentioned social factors. Due to stigmatization, discrimination and a lack of social support, people living with HIV/AIDS are expected to have a lower quality of life than people not living with HIV/AIDS. It is of importance to create interventions which work to reduce stigmatizing behavior, encourage social support and help infected people to cope with the situation to better the quality of life. Methods: The study was done among 198 black South Africans between the age of 19 and 65. Regression analyses have been conducted for all independent variables and for the independent variables combined to find if there were single and/or interaction effects with quality of life. Results: Analyses showed that stigma was not significantly related to quality of life, that social support was significantly related to quality of life and coping strategies were partly related to quality of life. No significant difference in quality of life was found between HIV+ and HIV- people, only that the quality of life of both groups is influenced by another kind of social support in combination with avoidance coping. For the HIV+ population the combination of avoidance coping with family support is significantly related to a better quality of life and for the HIV- population avoidance coping in combination with household support is significantly related to a better quality of life. Conclusion: The research has shown that there is little to no stigmatizing behavior in the research area and that social support and avoidance coping are found to be the most important predictors for a good quality of life. Another interesting finding is that there seems to be no difference in quality of life between the HIV+ and the HIV- population. A reason for these results could be that the Ndlovu Care Group has been working in this area for years already and has developed multiple plans to tackle the social problems related to HIV/AIDS.