Food insecurity, mental health and quality of life among people living with HIV commencing antiretroviral treatment in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

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BACKGROUND: Studies from high-income settings show that both food insecurity and common mental disorders (CMDs) are associated with lower quality of life among people living with HIV (PLHIV). However, there is limited research among PLHIV in sub-Saharan Africa. In this study we tested the hypothesis that food insecurity and CMDs would be associated with poorer quality of life of PLHIV in Ethiopia.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out with 348 PLHIV who were initiating antiretroviral therapy recruited from two primary care centers and a tertiary Hospital in southwest Ethiopia. Food insecurity, CMD, and quality of life were measured using instruments adapted and validated in Ethiopia (Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, Kessler-6, and WHOQOL-HIV-BREF-ETH, respectively). Multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with quality of life after adjusting for confounders.

RESULTS: The prevalence of severe household food insecurity among PLHIV was 38.7 %. After adjusting for confounders, severe food insecurity (β = -3.24, 95 % CI: -6.19; -0.29) and higher levels of CMD symptoms (β = -1.72 for each 1 point increase, 95 % CI: -1.94; -1.49) were associated with lower quality of life. Other factors associated with lower quality of life were advanced HIV disease (β = -3.80, 95 % CI: -6.18; -1.42), and being underweight (BMI = 17.0 - 18.5 kg/m(2)) (β = -3.45, 95 % CI: -6.18; -0.71). Owning more household assets was associated with higher quality of life (β = 0.99 for owning one more asset, 95 % CI: 0.09; 1.89).

CONCLUSION: Poor mental health and food insecurity are associated with lower quality of life in PLHIV. There is a need for longitudinal studies to elucidate the pathways linking CMD, food insecurity and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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