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Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) are characterized by a multitude of symptoms which still persist even with the advent of HAART and the goal of human existence is to be happy, free from pain and live a qualitative life. Hence, human beings employ different strategies to ensure the attainment of their goals. Coping is the name given to the strategies used to ensure that these goals are achieved. This study aims to assess the physical and psychosocial stressors related to HIV/AIDS as well as physical and psychosocial coping strategies adopted by People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Bauchi state. A cross sectional descriptive research design was used with a total sample of 384 PLWHA recruited through multistage sampling technique from eight ART centres in Bauchi state were interviewed using a questionnaire developed from the revised sign and symptoms checklist for HIV (SSC-HIVrev), HIV related social problem scale and Coping Strategies Inventory (CSI). The data collected was analysed using SPSS. Frequency tabulation, descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation were used, Pearson correlation coefficient was used to test relationship between variables at p-value of 0.05 or less. The results revealed that most of the participants were females (75.3%) with a mean age of 35.8years. Participants wereaffected by physical stressors; the most common symptoms were fever (77.1%), headache (69.8%) and fatigue (65.4%) in the physical dimension, worry/fear (60.9%) in the psychological dimension and loss of someone (57.3%) in the social dimension.The most commonly utilised physical coping strategy were consulting medical professional (Mean=2.10), using safe drinking water (Mean=1.82) and sleeping under insecticide treated net (Mean=1.64). The most commonly utilised psychosocial coping strategies were those categorised under problem focused coping strategies (cognitive restructuring (Mean=2.33), expressing emotion (Mean=2.22) and social support (Mean=2.09)). Correlation was seen between various subset of the coping strategies and sociodemgraphic characteristics; physical coping correlated with sex, marital status, level of education and religion at 0.05 and less whereas the subsets of psychosocial coping correlated with some of the sociodemographic characteristics. However, both the physical and psychosocial coping were found to be utilised. Based on these findings it can be concluded that despite the increasing access to ART manageable symptoms still exist and the respondent are utilising good and adaptive coping strategies. The assessment of these symptoms is essential alongside other virological outcomes as well as the coping strategies adopted to self-manage the symptoms.
Key words; coping strategies, HIV/AIDS, people living with HIV/AIDS,
Human being is a biopsycho-social adaptive being in constant interaction with his environment
which could be internal or external (Roy, 1970; Matt, 2014). He is made up of subsystems which
include biological subsystem, psychological subsystem and social subsystem. The biological
subsystems consist of respiratory, reproductive, endocrine, cardiovascular, and immunological,
among others. several diseases can affect the subsystems of whichHuman Immunodeficiency
Virus infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is one which affect the
immunological, psychological and social subsystems.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency
virus (Kramer, Kretzschmar and Krickeberg, 2010), and they further stated that AIDS was first
clinically observed in 1981 in the United States. The initial cases were seen in a cluster of
injecting drug users and homosexual men who showed symptoms of Pneumocystis carinii
pneumonia (PCP), a rare opportunistic infection that was known to occur in people with
compromised immune systems. HIV is a retrovirus that primarily infects components of the
human immune system such as CD4+ T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. It directly and
indirectly destroys CD4+ T cells. (Alimonti, Ball and Fowke, 2003).Human Immunodeficiency
Virus (HIV) is a member of the genusLentivirus, part of the family Retroviridae. Many species
of mammals are infected by lentiviruses, which are characteristically responsible for long term
illnesses with a longer incubation period.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been discovered to betransmitted by three main
routes: sexual contact, significant exposure to infected body fluids or tissues and from mother to
child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding (known as vertical transmission) (Teheri and
Zarimoghadam, 2013; Mayor Foundation, 2016). HIV/AIDS is diagnosed using Rapid Test Kit
(RTK), laboratory testing and then staged based on the presence of certain signs or symptoms.
Most people infected with HIV develop specific antibodies within three to twelve weeks of the
initial infection (AIDS.gov, 2016; World Health Organization, 2007).
Methods of prevention include safe sex, needle exchange programmes, treating those who are
infected and male circumcision. Disease in a baby can often be prevented by giving both the
mother and child medication. There is no cure or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can
slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy. Treatment is
recommended as soon as the diagnosis is made. Without treatment, the average survival time
after infection is 11 years (WHO, 2015). A 2011 trial has confirmed if an HIV-positive person
adheres to an effective ART regimen, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual
partner can be reduced by 96%) (WHO, 2016). The WHO recommendation to initiate ART in all
people living with HIV will contribute significantly to reducing HIV tra
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