Global Panel Finds Multimorbidity, Quality of Life, Discrimination Still Major Issues for Patients Living With HIV

Multimorbidity, health-related quality of life, and stigma and discrimination continue to be major issues for people living with HIV, including those who have achieved viral suppression, according to a consensus statement from a multidisciplinary panel of HIV experts published in Nature Communications. These problems are especially prominent among patients from marginalized populations.

“These factors can lead to depression, social isolation and barriers in accessing health and support services,” said Jeffrey Lazarus, PhD, MIH, associate professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, in a press release. “Many of these issues are not currently addressed in HIV monitoring, strategies or guideline.”

To develop their statement, investigators from the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health assembled this diverse panel of experts on the long-term health needs of people living with HIV and reviewed the literature on multimorbidity, stigma, and discrimination. The intended goal was to identify priority issues, which were then incorporated into a multi-stage Delphi process that would develop the consensus statement.

“An important strength of this consensus statement is that it was generated through this rigorous process, incorporating quantitative and qualitative data from experts from over 20 countries,” said Diana Romero, PhD, MPhil, in the release.

The authors of the statement argue that the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS should create new HIV monitoring processes and guidelines, with member states committing to report on the indicators and implement policies to enhance health system performance to promote the long-term well-being of those living with HIV.

“There is ample evidence that addressing things like mental health, stigma reduction, quality of life, and in many settings, housing and food security, will also improve HIV outcomes like adherence to antiretroviral medications and viral suppression,” said Denis Nash, PhD, MPH, in the release. “The field of HIV implementation science can play a key role in assessing the impact of strategies integrated into HIV service delivery to mitigate these issues.”

REFERENCE

Advancing the long-term well-being of people living with HIV [news release]. EurekAlert; July 21, 2021. Accessed July 23, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-07/cgso-atl072121.php