Development and validation of PozQoL: a scale to assess quality of life of PLHIV

BMC Public Health, 2018 18:527, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5433-6

Abstract

Background

Advances in medical treatment for HIV are driving major changes in HIV policy and practice, including the encouragement of intake and adherence to HIV antiretroviral treatment (ART) by people living with HIV (PLHIV) for both personal and public health benefits. However, there is increasing recognition that achieving these goals will require a concurrent focus on the broader psychological and social wellbeing of PLHIV. Increasingly calls are being been made to incorporate a stronger focus on quality of life (QoL) of PLHIV into HIV prevention policy.

In order to achieve this goal, HIV community, support and healthcare services need a valid, short and practical way to evaluate QoL of PLHIV accessing their programs. Current QoL measures are either long, complex, restricted in their use, or expensive. To address these shortcomings, the PozQoL study aimed to develop, test and validate a short and freely available scale assessing QoL among PLHIV.

Methods

Drawing on a literature review, the prioritisation of domains and development of the initial pool of items was conducted in consultation with PLHIV community organisations in Australia. The items covered health concerns, psychological, social, and functional wellbeing. Testing involved a baseline and a follow-up survey of 465 adult Australians living with HIV. Participants were recruited through social media and various community organizations nationwide. The survey included the pilot PozQoL scale and other validated measures of health and wellbeing.

Results

Guided by an Exploratory Factor Analysis and conceptual considerations, a 13-item scale was developed. The PozQoL scale demonstrated high levels of fit in a Confirmatory Factor Analysis, very good internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and concurrent validity with other measures that approximated different aspects of QoL.

Conclusion

The PozQoL scale has been tested in a diverse sample of adult PLHIV living in Australia, demonstrating very good reliability and validity. The insights from PLHIV and other stakeholders supported the balancing of statistical rigour and conceptual accuracy. The scale is now ready to be implemented and field-tested across a range of community, support and healthcare programs for PLHIV. This will make a significant contribution to the evaluation and enhancement of programs for PLHIV.

Intercourse, age of initiation and contraception among adolescents in Ireland

BMC Public Health 2018 18:362 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5217-z

Abstract

Background

The need to tackle sexual health problems and promote positive sexual health has been acknowledged in Irish health policy. Young people’s sexual behaviour however remains under-researched with limited national data available.

Methods

This study presents the first nationally representative and internationally comparable data on young people’s sexual health behaviours in Ireland. Self-complete questionnaire data were collected from 4494 schoolchildren aged 15–18 years as part of a broader examination of health behaviour and their context. The prevalence of sexual initiation, very early sexual initiation (< 14 years) and non-condom use at last intercourse are reported and used as outcomes in separate multilevel logistic regression models examining associations between sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle characteristics and young people’s sexual behaviours.

Results

Overall, 25.7% of boys and 21.2% of girls were sexually initiated. Older age was consistently predictive of initiation for both boys and girls, as were alcohol, tobacco and cannabis involvement, living in poorer neighbourhoods and having good communication with friends. Involvement in music and drama was protective. Very early sexual initiation (< 14 years) was reported by 22.8% of sexually initiated boys and 13.4% of sexually initiated girls, and was consistently associated with rural living, cannabis involvement and bullying others for both. Boys’ very early initiation was predicted by alcohol involvement, receiving unhealthy food from parents and taking medication for psychological symptoms, whereas better communication with friends and more experience of negative health symptoms were protective. Girls’ very early initiation was predicted by being bullied and belonging to a non-Traveller community, whereas taking medication for physical symptoms and attending regular health checks was protective. Condom use was reported by 80% of sexually initiated students at last intercourse. Boys’ condom use was associated with older age, higher family affluence, bullying others, more frequent physical activity and health protective behaviours. For girls, condom use was predicted by belonging to a non-Traveller community, healthy food consumption, higher quality of life and being bullied, whereas taking medication for physical and psychological symptoms was associated with non-condom use.

Conclusions

These nationally representative research findings highlight the importance of focusing on young people as a distinct population subgroup with unique influences on their healthsexual health requiring targeted interventions and policy.

 

A guide to understanding and managing Hepatitis C- related fatigue

By Alan Franciscus and Lucinda Porter, RN for the Hepatitis C Support Project, Version 5: January 2018

Fatigue is the most common symptom reported by people living with hepatitis C (HCV). One study found that 67% of HCV-positive people reported this symptom. Fatigue can range from mild to severe and can affect every area of life. Fatigue is difficult to quantify since it affects everyone differently and it cannot be measured by lab tests. Yet few symptoms can disturb quality of life more than relentless fatigue can.

Some people with hepatitis C have constant fatigue while others may have fatigue cycles. the authors hope hope that some of these simple tips will help people manage HCV-related fatigue symptoms.

Contents include:

– Causes of Fatigue
– Medical Treatment for Fatigue
– Self-Help for Managing Fatigue
– The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Fatigue Management
– Fatigue and the Workplace

Download A guide to understanding and managing Hepatitis C- related fatigue (18 page, PDF)

 

Hepatitis C cure leads to improved quality of life

hivandhepatitis.com, 23 October 2017

 People who were cured of hepatitis C with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) had sustained improvements in their health-related quality of life, including both physical and mental health measures, according to study results presented at the 2017 AASLD Liver Meeting this week in Washington, DC.

Australian Health Organisations refute Cochrane Review Report and affirm efficacy of DAA therapy for hepatitis C

Joint position statement, Australia, June 2017

This joint Position Statement aims to strongly refute and reject the findings of the Cochrane Review report titled Direct-acting antivirals for chronic hepatitis C, published by the Cochrane Hepato‐Biliary Group on 6 June 2017.

The Position Statement was prepared by the expert panel who published a Consensus Statement for Australian recommendations for the management of hepatitis C for virus infection representing the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (Australian Liver Association), the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine, the Australasian Hepatology Association, Hepatitis Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

The organisations above developed this position statement to urge health practitioners and patients not to be swayed by this flawed report claiming new direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for hepatitis C do not save lives.

Next free cooking class for people living with HIV announced

SAMESH’s next cooking class for people living with HIV is ready to serve.

The theme for this class will be “pasta”: the chef will be showing participants how to make pasta from scratch.

If you’re interested in learning how to cook healthy meals on a budget, contact SAMESH and RSVP your spot today. Places are limited.

When: Wednesday 6 September 2017 10 am – 2 pm

Where: 57 Hyde Street, Adelaide 5000

RSVP: by Monday 4 September 2017. Call SAMESH on (08) 7099 5300.

Download PDF flyer Gk Cooking Sept 2017