The prevalence of suicidal ideation and its psychological determinants among people living with HIV and AIDS attending ART clinic at Adult Centre of Excellence University Teaching Hospital
Mwenya, Mpundu Monica
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Suicidal ideation has long been associated with HIV infected populations worldwide. It has been found that HIV does not only attack the immune system of an individual but also the nervous system leading to psychological dysfunction of an individual. The objectives of the study were: to establish the occurrence of suicidal ideation among people living with HIV and AIDS; and to identify the major determinants of suicidal ideation among people living with HIV and AIDS. A cross sectional quantitative design was adopted. Systematic random sampling method was used to select the sample size. The total sample comprised of 280 participants. A social demographic questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Suicidal Risk Screening Scale (SRSS) were used to collect data. The study findings from the SRSS test revealed that (n=193, 69%) of the participants had lower suicide risk while (n=87, 31%) fell into the higher suicide risk category. One of the major determinants revealed from the study was depression from the BDI instrument. The findings from the BDI test showed that (n=25, 9%) of the participants were normal (n=137, 49%) fell into the ups and down category which is considered normal (n=48, 17%) fell into the mild mood disturbance, borderline clinical depression (n=20, 7%), moderate depression (n=34, 12%), severe depression (n=14, 5%) and extreme depression (n=3, 1%). Cumulatively, the BDI scores of 17 and above indicates that such participants may need clinical treatment and further psychological management. The study also showed that participants that fell into moderate, severe depression and extreme depression amounted to a total of (n=51, 18.2%). When the borderline category was included, the figure came to (n=71, 25.4%). The correlation coefficient between the BDI results and the SRSS results were 0.714, indicating a strong positive relationship between the BDI results and the SRSS results. The education level showed a very weak negative correlation between SRSS at -0.196 and with BDI at -0.163. Gender showed a very weak positive correlation with BDI at 0.213 all were significant at 0.01 confidence level. The rest of the determinants such as age at -0.104, employment -0.106, marital status -0.106, income -0.059, length of status -0.063 were not significant. The study showed that psychological tests should be used routinely to screen for depression and suicidal ideation when dealing with HIV positive patients by health professionals at baseline level to avoid unnecessary loss of lives. Key words: suicidal ideation, depression and Human Immunodeficiency Virus and psychological dysfunction.
The University of Zambia