Social factors related to quality of life among HIV infected children in Ubon Ratchathani province, Thailand

Department of Social and Environmental Medicine, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
The Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health (Impact Factor: 0.72). 09/2010; 41(5):1136-44.
Source: PubMed


A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the social factors and quality of life of HIV infected children attending the Pediatric Infectious Disease Clinic, Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand. Data were collected during October-November 2008, by interviewing caretakers and their children using a structured questionnaire. The children's families were in need of improved social support (84.5%), since community resources provided limited support, such as clothes, food, financial support, consultation, and information. The HIV infected children's quality of life needed improvement (78.7%). The factors associated with quality of life included having others as main caretakers (OR 4.64, 95% CI 1.45-14.78), parental death (OR 4.19, 95% CI 1.55-11.31), age of caregivers above 45 years old (OR 9.52, 95% CI 2.62-34.53), and family income less than THB 5,000 per month (OR 5.25, 95% CI 1.14-23.39). However, on multivariate analysis, only age of caregiver was a significant predictor for quality of life of the child. Children who were cared for by caregivers aged 45 years or above had a better quality of life than those whose caregivers were 20-45 years old (OR 6.32, 95% CI 1.12-35.62). Therefore, to improve quality of life among HIV infected children, age of caregiver is an important factor to be considered. Government and non-government organizations should focus on supporting caregivers in terms of food, financial, and emotional support based on resources available in the community.

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    • "Respondents only included only those who are enrolled in care, the perspectives of those who have poorer access to services or avoid HIV services are important if the system is to be responsive to their needs. Service-user respondents were selected by health care workers, interviewed at health facilities and were recruited from a cultural group previously documented as averse to expressing criticism [40], [41]; efforts were made to mitigate bias but it may be that respondents were unwilling to criticise. It was possible to recruit few adolescents for interview, therefore the service-user perspective is largely one of adults used as proxy respondents for children. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The Thai HIV programme is a leader in the public health approach to HIV treatment. Starting at transmission of HIV and ending with transition to adult services this paper assesses the paediatric HIV treatment continuum from three perspectives: service-user, provider and policy maker, to understand what works well and why. Methods A qualitative research design was used to assess and triangulate the stakeholder perspectives. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ART service-users (n = 35), policy actors (n = 20); telephone interviews with prior caregivers of orphans (n = 10); and three focus group discussions with service-providers (hospital staff and volunteers) from a district, provincial and a university hospital. Findings Children accessing HIV care were often orphaned, cared for by elderly relatives and experiencing multiple vulnerabilities. Services were divided into three stages, 1. Diagnosis and linkage: Despite strong policies there were supply and demand-side gaps in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission ‘cascade’ preventing early diagnosis and/or treatment. 2. Maintenance on ART - Children did well on treatment; caregivers took adherence seriously and valued the quality of services. Drug resistance, adherence and psychosocial issues were important concerns from all perspectives. 3. Adolescents and transition: Adolescent service-users faced greater complexity in their physical and emotional lives for which providers lacked skills; transition from the security of paediatric clinic was a daunting prospect. Dedicated healthcare providers felt they struggled to deliver services that met service-users' diverse needs at all stages. Child- and adolescent-specific elements of HIV policy were considered low priority. Conclusions Using the notion of the continuum of care a number of strengths and weaknesses were identified. Features of paediatric services need to evolve alongside the changing needs of service users. Peer-support volunteers have potential to add continuity and support at all stages. It is critical that adolescents receive targeted support, particularly during transition to adult services.
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