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An exploratory descriptive study on the levels of psychological distress in relation to quality of life among women living with HIV and AIDS attending a regional hospital within eThekwini district, KwaZulu-Natal.

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Background: Despite advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS with lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART), women living with HIV and AIDS (WLWHA) still have to deal with the psychological and psychosocial challenges of living with this chronic illness. Such a situation means there has been a necessary shift in focus to clinicians seeking ways to better understand and improve the quality of life and psychological well-being of WLWHA. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the levels of psychological distress in relation to health related quality of life in women living with HIV and AIDS who are attending a regional hospital within the eThekwini district, KwaZulu-Natal. Methods: An exploratory-descriptive, non-experimental quantitate approach was employed for the study. The WHO BREF and Kessler 10 (K10) self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from a sample of 84 WLWHA. Results: The findings showed that the sampled WLWHA had good levels of health-related quality of life. The social (16.3) and physical (16.1) domains had the highest mean scores. The level of independence (13.1) and environment (13.3) domains had the lowest mean scores. The findings also revealed that the women had moderate levels of psychological distress; the mean score for this was 22 (SD = 7.2). There was some interrelationship between socio-demographic factors and health-related quality of life. A significant relationship was also found between age and the psychological domain (p–value < 0.011). There was also borderline significance between education and the psychological domain (p–value = 0.055). Conclusion: Women living with HIV and AIDS are still experiencing moderate levels of psychological distress due to living with this chronic illness, HIV and AIDS. However, despite the presence of moderate levels of psychological distress, these women are nonetheless achieving high levels of health-related quality of life.


Masters in Nursing. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2015.


HIV-positive women -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal -- Psychological aspects., Quality of life -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., HIV-positive women -- Social aspects -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Distress (Psychology) -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Highly active antiretroviral therapy., Theses -- Maternal, child and women's health.