Social support significantly enhances physical and mental health for persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
We surveyed 142 rural Ethiopian HIV patients newly enrolled in care for perceived social support and factors associated with low support levels. Using the Social Provisions Scale (SPS), the mean summary score was 19.1 (possible scores = 0-48). On six SPS subscales, mean scores (possible scores = 0-8), were:
- Reliable Alliance (others can be counted on for tangible assistance) = 2.8,
- Attachment (emotional closeness providing sense of security) = 2.9,
- Reassurance of Worth (recognition of competence and value by others) = 3.2,
- Guidance (provision of advice or information by others) = 3.2,
- Social Integration (belonging to a group with similar interests and concerns) = 3.5, and
- Nurturance (belief that others rely on one for their well-being) = 3.6.
Among rural Ethiopian patients newly entering HIV care, we found moderate and varying levels of perceived social support, with lowest scores for subscales reflecting emotional closeness and reliance on others for tangible assistance.
Given that patients who have recently learned their diagnosis and entered care may be an especially vulnerable group, programs to help identify and address social support needs can provide multiple benefits in facilitating the best possible physical, emotional and functional quality of life for people living with HIV.
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- 1 Division of Epidemiology and Community Health , University of Minnesota , Minneapolis , MN , USA.
- 2 Ethiopian Office, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors , Addis Ababa , Ethiopia.
- 3 Global Program, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors , Washington , DC , USA.
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