Quality of life among people living with HIV in rural Eastern Uganda

Maria Filipponi, Hanna Oommen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Quality of life among people living with HIV in rural Eastern Uganda
Teresa Filipponi1, Hanna Oommen2,3

1University of South Wales, UK; 2Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland; 3SSHF, Norway.
KEYWORDS: Uganda, HIV, stigma, life quality, social support

Introduction: Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is, for many marginalised groups, a ‘disaster’.1 Despite the long-lasting effort in community health work in many African countries, HIV stigmatizing behaviours are a strong barrier to early detection and treatment in rural communities.2 Furthermore, people living with HIV and their relatives often suffer from psychological and socioeconomic consequences of the condition, before and after being tested for the virus.2
Aim: The aim of the study was to learn about the everyday life of individuals living with HIV in rural Ugandan villages, their wellbeing and personal experiences.
Methods: A qualitative focus group discussion was conducted in the rural Mbale District, Eastern Uganda in April 2018. Participants were women and men (n = 9) who have lived with HIV for more than 10 years.
Results: The main themes that emerged from the discussion were Transmission, Stigma, Relationships and Support. The participants shared the difficulty of everyday life before (illness symptoms) and after being tested with HIV. All participants, especially younger parents, reported experiencing stigma and discrimination from close family and community members. Support mechanisms were also discussed.
Conclusion: The AIDS epidemic has been with us for more than a quarter of a century and unfortunately statistics never fail to shock.1 According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME, 2016)3 HIV/AIDS were, in Uganda, the main cause of mortality, premature death and disability and death together. However, the threat of being stigmatised and isolated may represent a greater and more immediate risk than dying of the condition.4 Social and religious support played an essential part in recovery and in improving quality of life.5 The establishment of strong social and religious networks may help marginalised groups face their ‘disaster’.

1.International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2008) World Disasters Report, Focus on HIV and AIDS. Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
2.WHO (2011) Global HIV/AIDS response: epidemic update and health sector progress towards universal access. Geneva: WHO
3.Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2016) Uganda.
4.Deeks SG, Lewin SR, Havlir DV (2013) The end of AIDS: HIV infection as a chronic disease. Lancet 382; 1525-33.
5.Cummings, B., Gutin, S.A., Jaiantilal, P., et al. (2014) The role of social support among people living with HIV in rural Mozambique. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 28(11):602-12.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2018
Event5th Research Conference Of World Society of Disaster Nursing - University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Duration: 18 Oct 201819 Oct 2018


Conference5th Research Conference Of World Society of Disaster Nursing
Abbreviated titleWSDN


  • Uganda
  • HIV
  • stigma
  • life quality
  • social support


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