HIV: Positive lessons from home-based care

January 19, 2010

Intensive home-based nursing in HIV/AIDS patients significantly improves self-reported knowledge of HIV, awareness of medications, and self-reported adherence to medication programmes, according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review. One home-based care trial included in the review also significantly impacted on HIV stigma, worry, and physical functioning. It did not, however, help improve depressive symptoms, mood, general health, and overall functioning.

These conclusions are interesting, but more research is needed to understand the impact of home-based care in developing countries and on important disease outcomes, say the researchers. The study represents the first systematic review of the impact of home care in /AIDS.

As a disease that affects 33 million people, HIV/AIDS puts a huge strain on health systems, particularly in developing countries. Therefore, in countries where health services are overstretched, home-based care is offered to HIV patients as an alternative to hospital care. Home-based care can include counselling, medical management, exercise, and spiritual support to try to improve patients' quality of life in familiar surroundings, while reducing costs and pressure on hospital beds.

Researchers examined data from 13 studies, two of which were ongoing. The researchers report that home-based care has positive impacts on some aspects of patient wellbeing but little effect on others. Patients said that home care improved their knowledge of the disease, and of HIV medications, and helped them adhere to medication programmes. It also reduced worry and improved physical functions of patients, but had little effect on depression, general health, or indicators of disease progression such as CD4 counts.

Importantly, few studies considered the effects of home-based care in developing countries or on important disease outcomes. "Further large studies are needed to evaluate the effects of home-based care in developing countries, where HIV and AIDS take the biggest toll," said Young. "And there should be a greater focus on how home-based care impacts on progression to full blown and death from the disease."

"This study is a useful addition to the literature because of the wide range of home care options considered. However, there is no doubt that the evidence base for home-based care in HIV needs further development."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists find where HIV 'hides' to evade detection by the immune system

October 19, 2017
In a decades-long game of hide and seek, scientists from Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research have confirmed for the very first time the specific immune memory T-cells where infectious HIV 'hides' in the human ...

National roll-out of PrEP HIV prevention drug would be cost-effective

October 18, 2017
Providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV infection (equivalent to less than 5% of men who have sex with men at any point in time) in England would be cost-effective, ...

Regulatory T cells harbor HIV/SIV virus during antiviral drug treatment

October 17, 2017
Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have identified an additional part of the HIV reservoir, immune cells that survive and harbor the virus despite long-term treatment with antiviral drugs.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV

October 17, 2017
In findings that open the door to a completely different approach to curing HIV infections, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively ...

Researchers create molecule that could 'kick and kill' HIV

October 5, 2017
Current anti-AIDS drugs are highly effective at making HIV undetectable and allowing people with the virus to live longer, healthier lives. The treatments, a class of medications called antiretroviral therapy, also greatly ...

A sixth of new HIV patients in Europe 50 or older: study

September 27, 2017
People aged 50 and older comprise a growing percentage of HIV patients in Europe, accounting for one in six new cases in 2015, researchers said Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.