Changeover-time in psychosocial wellbeing of people living with HIV and people living close to them after an HIV stigma reduction and wellness enhancement community intervention
HIV stigma continues to affect the psychosocial wellbeing of people living with HIV (PLWH) and people living close to them (PLC). Literature unequivocally holds the view that HIV stigma and psychosocial wellbeing interact with and have an impact on each other. This study, which is part of a larger research project funded by the South Africa Netherlands research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD), responds to the lack of interventions mitigating the impactful interaction of HIV stigma and psychosocial wellbeing and tests one such intervention. The research objectives were to test the changeover-time in the psychosocial wellbeing of PLWH and PLC in an urban and a rural setting, following a comprehensive community-based HIV stigma reduction and wellness enhancement intervention. An experimental quantitative single system research design with a pre- and four repetitive post-tests was used, conducting purposive voluntary sampling for PLWH (n = 18) and snowball sampling for PLC (n = 60). The average age of participants was 34 years old. The five measuring instruments used for both groups were the mental health continuum short-form scale, the patient health questionnaire, the satisfaction with life scale, the coping self-efficacy scale and the spirituality wellbeing scale. No significant differences were found between the urban-rural settings and data were pooled for analysis. The findings show that initial psychosocial wellbeing changes after the intervention were better sustained (over time) by the PLC than by the PLWH and seemed to be strengthened by interpersonal interaction. Recommendations included that the intervention should be re-utilised and that its tenets, content and activities be retained. A second intervention three to six months after the first should be included to achieve more sustainability and to add focused activities for the enhancement of psychosocial wellbeing. PLWH and PLC are to be encouraged to engage with innovative community mechanisms to make psychosocial wellbeing a way of life in the community at large.