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New study highlights stigma and stress of living with HIV/AIDS in Serbia
Date:11/26/2007

Many people with HIV/AIDS in Serbia and Montenegro experience stigma, loneliness and ostracism, and can find it difficult to secure work and support themselves, according to new research findings.

They also struggle to secure regular, continuous access to HIV/AIDS drug treatments even though, in theory, there is 100% access to state-funded delivery, and are suffering stress and anxiety as a result.

Sarah Bernays, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)s Centre for Drugs and Health Behaviour, will be presenting initial findings from the three-year study at an international health briefing on HIV/AIDS 2008, which is being held at Tanaka Business School, Imperial College today.

The study has relevance regionally and globally because, as the world aims to scale up to universal access, it is likely that already overstretched health care systems will run into difficulties with supply security, leaving patients temporarily without appropriate treatment. There are reports that people living with HIV (PLHIV) have experienced interrupted treatment due to supply problems within the region, for example Russia and Turkey, and also in countries where the prevalence rates are much higher, for example Uganda and Burundi.

The LSHTM team carried out qualitative research between 2005 and 2007. A baseline study, conducted between 2005-6, and funded by the UK Department for International Development, involved in-depth interviews with 40 PLHIV in Serbia and Montenegro, and 18 service providers. A prospective study, which took place between 2006 and 2007 and which was funded by the European Social Research Council, followed up 20 PLHIV. East participant was interviewed a further three times, and written and/or audio diaries were collected.

The respondents reported high levels of stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, and perceived access to HIV treatment to be insecure. They felt that there were problems with the delivery of dr
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Contact: Gemma Howe
gemma.howe@lshtm.ac.uk
020-792-72802
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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