Abstract: In recent years, environmental awareness has received a great deal of public attention. However, little emphasis has been put on the influence of environmental factors (weather, personal attitudes, policies, physical structures, transportation, etc.) on the quality of life of persons infected with HIV/AIDS. The goal of this study was to assess the effect of selected environmental factors on the quality of life of persons affected by HIV/AIDS. To achieve this goal, the Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors (CHIEF) subscales including Policies, Physical Structure, Work/School, Attitudes/Support, and Service/ Assistance were evaluated in patients selected from a STD/HIV clinic in Jackson, MS. They were chosen based on previously diagnosed HIV/AIDS status and age (16-95). Written consents, demographics sheets and self-administered questionnaires were obtained. Data were analyzed using Excel and SPSS software. Interviews started in July 2007 and ended in August, 2007. One hundred and thirteen patients responded. Participants were 72.6% (82) male, 26.5% (30) female and 0.9% (1) transgender. The median age of participants was 38.8 (18-63). Over 50% (65) had some college or higher education, and 35.4% reported annual incomes less than $10,000. Multivariate analysis showed marginal significance between disease diagnosis and gender (p < 0.10), and statistical significance between disease diagnosis and income (p = 0.03). Also, age (p = 0.01) and education (p = 0.03) were significant predictors in one of the subscales. The CHIEF subscales that showed the greatest significance among AIDS respondents were Attitudes and Support, and Government Policies with mean sensitivity scores of 1.39 and 1.42, respectively. The element with the least effect on AIDS patients was the Work/School subscale, with a mean score of 0.74. In general AIDS patients were disproportionately affected in all but one of the five subscales observed. Conversely those with HIV were more affected in the Work/School subscale with a mean score of 1.70. This proved to be the only subscale responsible for causing the greatest degree of perceived barriers for the HIV population. With a mean score of 0.75, Physical/Structural subscale showed the least negative impact on those infected HIV without AIDS. It is therefore recommended that the environmental barriers identified in this study be addressed in order to eliminate/minimize their negative effect and improve the quality of life of HIV/AIDS patients.
Keywords: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS); Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) patients; environmental barriers; quality of life
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Nichols, L.; Tchounwou, P.B.; Mena, L.; Sarpong, D. The Effects of Environmental Factors on Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6, 2041-2054.
Nichols L, Tchounwou PB, Mena L, Sarpong D. The Effects of Environmental Factors on Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2009; 6(7):2041-2054.
Nichols, Lucersia; Tchounwou, Paul B.; Mena, Leandro; Sarpong, Daniel. 2009. "The Effects of Environmental Factors on Persons Living with HIV/AIDS." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 6, no. 7: 2041-2054.