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People with HIV face significant physical and mental stress, including self-stigma

Majority of PLHIV (approximately 64.7%) reported low coping strategies, and 74% experienced high levels of self-stigma.

Photo by @devn from Unsplash.com

Individuals living with HIV often face significant physical and mental stress, including self-stigma, which can impede their ability to seek treatment and disclose their status. Here, adopting effective coping strategies helps them manage these challenges to their well-being.

This is according to a study – “Analysis of Coping Strategies and Self-Stigma Among People Living with HIV (PLHIV): A Cross Sectional Study” by Ahmad Ikhlasul Amal, Tintin Sukartini, Ninuk Dian Kurniawati, et al – that appeared in The Open Public Health Journal.

After noting that research on coping strategies and self-stigma in newly diagnosed HIV patients remains limited, including in Indonesia, where the study was done, the researchers wanted to examine how people living with HIV (PLHIV) cope with their emotions and how this relates to their self-perception.

Conducted in Semarang City, Indonesia, at the Poncol and Halmahera Public Health Centers, the research involved 150 individuals diagnosed with HIV within the past year. Participants completed two questionnaires assessing coping strategies and self-perception, and the data were analyzed using the Sommers test.

The findings included:

  • majority of participants, approximately 64.7%, reported low coping strategies
  • 74% experienced high levels of self-stigma
  • Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation (p-value = 0.001, correlation strength = 0.375) between coping strategies and self-stigma, indicating a moderate relationship.

In essence, the study highlights the interconnectedness between coping mechanisms and self-stigma among PLHIV, “underscoring the importance of addressing both aspects in HIV care and support programs,” stressed the researchers.

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