Wives of HIV+ve patients need counselling and support, finds Pune survey
A recent survey by a Pune-based health group found substantially higher prevalence of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) in women whose husbands were tested positive with HIV.pune Updated: Dec 22, 2017 15:11 IST
The high prevalence of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) in women whose husbands were tested positive with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has highlighted the need for counselling and support for the caregivers of HIV patients which is missing in the prevailing system.
A recent survey conducted by a Pune-based health group with the support of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) found substantially higher prevalence of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) in women whose husbands were tested positive with HIV.
The survey was conducted among 152 women by the Prayas Health Group, a well-known city-based NGO working in the field of health. The survey found that 36 per cent women who were uninfected caregivers to their HIV positive husbands were found to be suffering from Common Mental Disorders such as depression, anxiety, phobia, panic attacks and post traumatic stress disorder. The prevalence of these disorders is just 10 per cent among the general population.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Shrinivas Darak, senior researcher at Prayas Health Group, said that many social and personal factors lead to increase in stress levels of these women. Presently, only HIV-infected people receive regular counselling and treatment. It is necessary to provide counselling and support to the caregivers who suffered from the physical and psychological burden of caring for their HIV+ husbands, Darak said.
The high stress levels were primarily due to the social stigma associated with HIV and other issues.
“The thought that your partner has betrayed you, the fear of getting this infection transmitted and the taboo associated with the disease does not allow these women to share their emotional trauma with anyone in the family. Due to many such factors these women suffer from increase in stress levels,” the Prayas researcher noted.
He emphasised that while HIV positive men do get regular counselling, it is the caregivers who continue to suffer from mental disorders, but get no help as they remain ignored.
To help address this issue, Prayas Health Group has come up with a 10 point questionnaire which will be disseminated to different hospitals and health centres. The responses to the questionnaire will guide the investigator to ask the caregiver for further examination and could help address CMD among women.