The prevalence of anxiety and depression among caregivers of HIV-positive children
HIV/AIDS has changed from an acute disease to a chronic one due to comprehensive care accorded to those infected by the virus, especially due to the use of antiretroviral medicines (ARVs). One of the effects of HIV infection is that it predisposes people to and perpetuates anxiety and depression. Studies done in some parts of the world show that there is high prevalence of anxiety and depression among people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Many researches have been done regarding the welfare of adults suffering from HIV, but not much has been done regarding the caregivers of HIV-positive children. This study involved caregivers of HIV -positive children receiving comprehensive care at Lea Toto clinic in Kibera, Nairobi. The aim was to determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression among the caregivers. The study identified the socio-demographic details of each caregiver and then assessed the caregiver for features of anxiety and depression. OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the study were to describe the socio-demographic profiles of caregivers of HIV -positive children, to determine prevalence of anxiety and depression among caregivers of children infected with HIV, and to determine the relationship between anxiety and depression and socio-demographic factors of caregivers. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional descriptive survey METHOD: The study targeted all the eligible primary caregivers of children aged 2-18 years. The caregivers who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were recruited consecutively. The interviews took place in the months of May and June 2012. The data collection tools were: a) A researcher-designed socio-demographic questionnaire. b) BAI - Beck Anxiety Inventory. c) BDI - Beck Depression Inventory. DATA ANALYSIS: The data was entered into a computer using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 for analysis. The results were presented in tables, graphs and descriptive form. RESULTS: A total of 228 caregivers were interviewed in the study. 30 (13.2%) were male while 198 (86.8%) were female. 67.5% of the caregivers were the biological parents of the children. The study showed a high prevalence of anxiety and depression among the caregivers of HIV -positive children, a result that is consistent with studies done in other parts of the world. 68 (29.8%) of the caregivers had anxiety, 147 (64.5%) had depression and 67 (29.4%) had both anxiety and depression. Factors that had statistically significant association with anxiety were gender ofa caregiver (p = 0.024), level of formal education (p = 0.000), family's monthly income (p= 0.048), and the existence of a child's biological parents (p = 0.039). Depression had a statistically significant association with a caregiver's gender (p = 0.003), occupation (p = 0.027), level of education (p = 0.001), family monthly income (p = 0.041), and provision of care to a child who was on AR V s (p = 0.004). The results also showed a high level of co-morbidity between anxiety and depression. CONCLUSION: There is a high prevalence of both anxiety and depression among the caregivers of HIV-positive children, features that are associated with various sociodemographic characteristics like being female, having little or no formal education, and having a low or unreliable family income. RECOMMENDATIONS: There needs to be better policies towards comprehensive care for HIV positive children that address the needs of their caregivers as well, in particular those aged 30-49 years, and those who are engaged in irregular, non-guaranteed casual labor.