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1.  The Impact of HIV Status, HIV Disease Progression and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Rwandan Women Genocide Survivors 
Purpose
We examined whether established associations between HIV disease and HIV disease progression on worse health-related quality of life (HQOL) were applicable to women with severe trauma histories, in this case Rwandan women genocide survivors, the majority of whom were HIV infected. Additionally, this study attempted to clarify whether post-traumatic stress symptoms were uniquely associated with HQOL or confounded with depression.
Methods
The Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) was a longitudinal prospective study of HIV-infected and uninfected women. At study entry 922 women (705 HIV+ and 217 HIV−) completed measures of symptoms of post-traumatic stress and HQOL as well as other demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics.
Results
Even after controlling for potential confounders and mediators, HIV+ women, in particular those with the lowest CD4 counts, scored significantly worse on HQOL and overall QOL than did HIV− women. Even after controlling for depression and HIV disease progression, women with more post-traumatic stress symptoms scored worse on HQOL and overall QOL than women with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated that post-traumatic stress symptoms were independently associated with HQOL and overall QOL, independent of depression and other confounders or potential mediators. Future research should examine whether the long term impact of treatment on physical and psychological symptoms of HIV and post-traumatic stress symptoms would generate improvement in HQOL.
doi:10.1007/s11136-012-0328-y
PMCID: PMC4084826  PMID: 23271207
Quality of Life; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; HIV; Women; Rwanda
2.  Differences in the Nonuse of any Contraception and Use of Specific Contraceptive Methods in HIV Positive and HIV Negative Rwandan Women 
AIDS Research and Treatment  2012;2012:367604.
Contraception can reduce the dual burden of high fertility and high HIV prevalence in sub-Sahara Africa, but significant barriers remain regarding access and use. We describe factors associated with nonuse of contraception and with use of specific contraceptive methods in HIV positive and HIV negative Rwandan women. Data from 395 HIV-positive and 76 HIV-negative women who desired no pregnancy in the previous 6 months were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models to identify clinical and demographic characteristics that predict contraceptive use. Differences in contraceptive methods used were dependent on marital/partner status, partner's knowledge of a woman's HIV status, and age. Overall, condoms, abstinence, and hormonal methods were the most used, though differences existed by HIV status. Less than 10% of women both HIV+ and HIV− used no contraception. Important differences exist between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women with regard to contraceptive method use that should be addressed by interventions seeking to improve contraceptive prevalence.
doi:10.1155/2012/367604
PMCID: PMC3533450  PMID: 23304468
3.  Structural determinants of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and BMI: a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and HIV-negative Rwandan women 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000714.
Objectives
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the overlapping epidemics of undernutrition and HIV infection affect over 200 and 23 million people, respectively, and little is known about the combined prevalence and nutritional effects. The authors sought to determine which structural factors are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low body mass index (BMI) in HIV-negative and HIV-infected Sub-Saharan women.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Setting
Community-based women's organisations.
Participants
161 HIV-negative and 514 HIV-infected Rwandan women.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcomes included food insufficiency (reporting ‘usually not’ or ‘never’ to ‘Do you have enough food?’), low household dietary diversity (Household Dietary Diversity Score ≤3) and BMI <18.5 (kg/m2). The authors also measured structural and behavioural factors including: income, household size, literacy and alcohol use.
Results
Food insufficiency was prevalent (46%) as was low dietary diversity (43%) and low BMI (15%). Food insufficiency and dietary diversity were associated with low income (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.14 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.52) p<0.01), (aOR=6.51 (95% CI 3.66 to 11.57) p<0.001), respectfully and illiteracy (aOR=2.00 (95% CI 1.31 to 3.04) p<0.01), (aOR=2.10 (95% CI 1.37 to 3.23) p<0.001), respectfully and were not associated with HIV infection. Alcohol use was strongly associated with food insufficiency (aOR=3.23 (95% CI 1.99 to 5.24) p<0.001). Low BMI was inversely associated with HIV infection (aOR≈0.5) and was not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Conclusions
Rwandan women experienced high rates of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and alcohol use, not HIV infection alone, may contribute to food insufficiency in Rwandan women. Food insufficiency, dietary diversity and low BMI do not correlate with one another; therefore, low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Further studies are needed to understand the health effects of not having enough food, low food diversity and low weight in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected women.
Article summary
Article focus
What structural determinants are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda?
What is the prevalence of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda and are these outcomes correlated with each other?
Hypotheses
1: Poverty, low literacy status and alcohol use are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI.
2: Food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI are highly prevalent and are correlated with one another.
Key messages
Food insufficiency and low dietary diversity are highly prevalent (46% and 43%, respectively) and are associated with low income and illiteracy and strongly associated with alcohol use.
BMI (kg/m2) is not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Significance: food insufficiency and low dietary diversity, known contributors to poor health, are highly prevalent in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda. Low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Extreme poverty, low literacy and alcohol use may contribute to food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. These structural factors may be useful targets to prevent the adverse health effects of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large cohort of HIV-negative and HIV-infected women, very detailed tools used for food insufficiency and dietary diversity
Cross-sectional design, our measurement of food insufficiency is solely by self-report.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000714
PMCID: PMC3329607  PMID: 22505309
4.  Effectiveness of interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Southern Ethiopia 
Background
In Ethiopia, Progress in Reducing Mother-to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is being curtailed by behavioral and cultural factors that continue to put unborn children at risk, and mother-to-child transmission is responsible for more than 90% of HIV infection in children. The objective of this study was to assess PMTCT services by examining knowledge about reducing vertical transmission among pregnant women.
Methods
A multistaged sampling institution-based survey was conducted in 113 pregnant women in Arba Minch. Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained.
Results
Of the 113 respondents, 89.4% were from Arba Minch, 43.4% were at least 25 years of age, 73.4% had formal education at primary level or above, 100% reported acceptance of voluntary counseling and testing, 92.0% were knowledgeable about mother-to-child transmission, and 90.3% were aware of the availability of the PMTCT service in the health facility. Of 74 HIV-positive women in PMTCT, only three (4.1%) had had skilled birth attendants at delivery. There was an unacceptable degree of loss of women from PMTCT. Maternal educational level had a statistical association with income (P < 0.001) and voluntary counseling and testing for pregnant women (P < 0.05). Factors that determined use of PMTCT included culture, socioeconomic status, and fear of stigma and discrimination.
Conclusion
In the area studied, intervention to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV is failing to reach its goal. This is an alarming discovery requiring quick reconsideration and strengthening of preventive strategies at all levels.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S23124
PMCID: PMC3225464  PMID: 22140322
human immunodeficiency virus; mother-to-child transmission; pregnant women; Ethiopia
5.  Impact of Care and Social Support on Wellbeing among people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria 
Background:
Availability of antiretroviral therapies has transformed AIDS into a manageable chronic condition and improved well-being among people living with HIV/AIDS (PHA) in developed countries. In developing countries however, such transformations are yet to occur due to socio-economic, systemic and environmental constraint. This study examined the impact of social, economic, psychological and environmental factors on health and wellbeing among PHA living in southwest Nigeria.
Methods:
Using qualitative participatory methodology, 50 HIV positive people, 8 health personnel and 32 care providers were interviewed to explore how care and social support affect wellbeing among PHA in view of constraints to accessing antiretroviral drugs. Analysis of data used the grounded theory (GT) approach to identify themes, which are considered crucial to the wellbeing of PHA.
Results:
The findings highlight several factors, apart from antiretroviral drugs, that impact the wellbeing of PHA in southwest Nigeria. These include concerns about deteriorating physical health, family and children’s welfare, pervasive stigma, financial pressures and systemic failures relating to care among others. We describe how psychosocial and social support structures can considerably contribute to improving health outcomes among them because of how they affect the functioning of immune system, self-care activities and other illness behaviours.
Conclusion:
We recommend that interventions should address the psychosocial, socio-economic and other systemic issues that negatively influence the wellbeing of PHA and governments need to strengthen the policy environment that empowers PHA support groups.
PMCID: PMC3481753  PMID: 23113004
HIV/AIDS; Nigeria; Care support; Social support
6.  HIV Risk Perception and Constraints to Protective Behaviour among Young Slum Dwellers in Ibadan, Nigeria 
This study examined the relationship between HIV/AIDS risk perception and protective behaviour among sexually-active urban young slum dwellers in Ibadan, Nigeria. The multistage sampling techniques were used for selecting 1,600 respondents aged 15-24 years. Of these, 1,042 (65%) respondents who reported unprotected sex in the last three months were selected for analysis. Although the sexually-active respondents demonstrated basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS and high risk perception, risky behaviour was common and protective behaviour was poor. About 48% of 505 males and 12% of 537 females had multiple partners. Similarly, 29% of males and 38% of females were engaged in transactional sex. Only 14% of males and 5% of females used any form of protection, resulting in the high rates of sexually transmitted infections reported by 27% of males and 10% of females. Structural and environmental constraints were identified as barriers to adopting protective behaviour. Therefore, programme and policy interventions should be designed to address the peculiar circumstances of urban young slum dwellers to curtail the HIV epidemic.
PMCID: PMC2753996  PMID: 17985816
HIV; HIV infections; Sexually transmitted diseases; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Sexual behaviour; Risk perceptions; Slums; Epidemiology; Nigeria

Results 1-6 (6)