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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 198-204

Support group participation among people living with human immunodeficiency virus in tertiary hospitals in Enugu: Benefits, perceived barriers, and factors associated with participation

College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Kosisochukwu Udeogu
Faculty of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_58_20

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Background: Support groups have been advocated in the care of patients with HIV and are integrated into HIV care and treatment programs. Objectives: This study aimed to assess in patients living with HIV, their awareness of support groups, knowledge of its benefits, and perceived barriers to their participation. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted on 430 consenting adult patients being managed for HIV/AIDS at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu. Patients were recruited consecutively over 4 weeks, and information on their sociodemographic data, knowledge, and membership of HIV support groups was obtained using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23. The level of significance was < 0.05, and the confidence interval was 95%. Results: The mean age of the participants was 42.8 ± 6.58 years and 70.5% were female. A diagnosis of HIV for more than 10 years was reported in 141 participants (32.8%). While 260 (60.5%) were aware of support groups, only 41 (15.8%) belonged to a support group. While 84 (21.6%) did not participate because support group meetings were hard to find where they live, 79 (20.3%) could not attend because of their job. HIV diagnosis for more than 10 years was significantly associated with higher participation in support groups (P = 0.005). Conclusion: Participation in support groups was low in our patients and several barriers were reported, with the most common being poor accessibility to support group meetings.

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