Abstract: Social Support and Quality of Life Among People Living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

373P Social Support and Quality of Life Among People Living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana

Friday, January 14, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Charles M. S. Birore, PhD, Associate Professor, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Liyun Wu, PhD, Associate Professor, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Tina Abrefa-Gyan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Garden City University College and Sunyani Technical University, Ghana
Merilyn W. Lewis, PhD, Professor, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Background and Purpose: People living with human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), in low- and middle-income countries do not have full access to healthcare services. Access to antiretroviral therapies (ART) has made AIDS a chronic disease rather than a death sentence, if managed accordingly. Lifelong access to ART increases the capability of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to a productive life, which subsequently decreases economic burden by improving their quality of life (QoL). This study's objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Social Care Intervention Model (SCI) in improving QoL among PLWHA in Ghana. Research questions: (1) does the SCI Model impact QoL among PLWHA in Ghana? (2) Is there an association between social support and QoL among PLWHA in Ghana? (3) What is the factorial structure, reliability and convergent validity of QoL for the Ghanaian sample?

Method: Following the approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) by respective institutions, personnel from local not-for profit organizations, namely Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS assisted in recruiting the participants. A cross-sectional survey of 286 HIV-positive adults was conducted. Participation eligibility included HIV-positive status, receiving family/other support, and being resilient. Informed consent was obtained and the participants were compensated with a $10 Walmart gift card. Researchers maintained the participants’ rights to privacy and confidentiality. Variables included sociodemographic characteristics (age, gender, education, employment status, child status, marital status, and health status.) The dependent variable was QoL (World Health Organization QoL Scale (WHO, 2020) and the independent variable, four domains of social support (emotional, tangible, affectionate, and interactional) Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ) (Sarason et al., 1983). Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were utilized. Confirmatory factor models were built using modification indices and residual analysis to improve the model fit.

Results: Of the 286 participants, 87.8% were female with the mean age of 46.01 years (SD=11.822). The majority of participants had children (93.6%) More than half were married (57.6%), 31.8% were single, 10.6% were divorced, widowed or unspecified relationships. Twenty-five percent had attained high school or more, 43.9% were employed, 12.4% reported their health status as excellent, 27.2% as very good , 50.2% as good, and only 7.4% reported health status as fair or poor (2.8%). Age, health status, and affectionate support predicted PLWHA’s QoL. The model showed an acceptable fit to sample data and a good reliability and convergent validity.

Conclusion and Implications: The Social Care Intervention Model met biopsychosocial needs of PLWHA including access to health care, which enhanced QoL among PLWHA. Implications: (1) Social work practice in Ghana should expand to the health care sector whereby the psychosocial approach could be applied to psychosocial and cultural problems over and above the medical model. (2) Introducing social work into the health curriculum may acquaint social work students with knowledge to address determinants of health. (3) Strengthening universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services across the nation is overdue. (4) Future researchers should examine the role of social capital and its influence on PLWHA’s QoL.