Authors: Martha Powell, Future Science Group
Results from the Positive Perspectives global survey, which were presented at the 16th European AIDS Clinical Society Conference (October 25–27, Milan, Italy), have provided an insight into the attitudes of individuals living with HIV, including feelings towards antiretroviral therapy, diagnosis, clinical care and stigma and discrimination.
The survey, which was sponsored by global specialist HIV company ViiV Healthcare (Brentford, UK), enrolled 1111 people living with HIV across nine countries and aimed to better understand the needs and concerns of HIV positive individuals. The design of the survey was carried out in collaboration with a steering committee, including HIV professionals and patient group representatives, and findings provided an insight into the attitudes and feelings in this demographic.
The study did uncover some positive trends, for example, 89% of the group believed the advances in HIV treatment will improve their quality of life. However, there were also some findings that may flag areas for improvement in HIV care; 82% of HIV positive individuals reported experiencing some form of stigma relating to their HIV in the last 12 months, with 37% stating that they had hide their medication to avoid revealing their status.
Andrew Murungi, Scientific Lead for the Positive Perspectives Survey at ViiV Healthcare, commented: “While treatment advances have dramatically improved the life expectancy of people living with HIV, we recognise there are many important challenges remaining today. We conducted this survey to find out specifically what these challenges are and to help us support the HIV community in addressing the unmet needs of people living with HIV. Whilst it is reassuring to learn 89% (987) believe treatment advances will improve their quality of life, clearly much needs to be done, as only 56% (604) are currently very satisfied with their antiretroviral treatment.”
Simone Marcotullio, a Positive Perspectives Survey Steering Committee member, concluded: “While we’ve come a long way in the treatment of HIV, it’s staggering to see that stigma still persists 30 years into the epidemic… A deeper manifestation of this persistent stigma is the fact that PLHIV selfstigmatise and develop a negative relationship with their daily treatment, which can lead to adherence issues and lower quality of life. These survey results help us better understand the challenges people living with HIV face and can also help us find ways to address these challenges.”