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Chipanta, David; Stoeckl, Heidi; Toska, Elona; Chanda, Patrick; Mwanza, Jason; Kaila, Kelly; Matome, Chisangu; Tembo, Gelson; Estill, Janne and Keiser, Olivia (2022): Facing the quality of life: physical illness, anxiety, and depression symptoms among people living with HIV in rural Zambia - a cross-sectional study. In: AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of Aids/Hiv, Vol. 34, No. 8: pp. 957-965

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Widespread access to ART has not improved the quality of life (QoL) for people living with HIV (PLHIV). We used the United Nations Disability project (UNPRPD) evaluation data to examine how physical illness, anxiety, and depression shape the QoL of PLHIV in households receiving the social cash transfers safety nets in Luapula, Zambia. We explored associations between each outcome - physical illness, anxiety, depression symptoms - and age, gender, poverty, hunger and disability, using univariable and multivariable regressions. We adjusted p-values for multiple hypothesis testing with sharpened Qs. The sample comprised 1925 respondents 16-55 years old, median age 31 (IQR 22-42 years), majority women (n = 1514, 78.6%). Two-thirds (1239, 64.4%) reported having a physical illness, a third (671, 34.9%) anxiety, and nine per cent (366) depression symptoms. More HIV positive people had a disability (34.6%, 53 versus 28.3%, 502;Q = 0.033), were physically ill (72.5%, 111 versus 63.7%, 1128;Q = 0.011), and two-fold (aOR 1.97 95% CI 1.31-2.94) more likely to report depression symptoms than HIV negative peers. Food insecurity and disability among PLHIV may worsen their physical illnesses, anxiety, depression symptoms, and other QoL domains. More research on the quality of life of PLHIV in poverty is required.

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