Its been a while since I brought you highlights of HIV and Aids research in Malawi. To the immigration officer at Chileka Airport who said I had become political, well, this column on research evidence is for you. However, I will, without a doubt, return to my biases in next week’s column because you cannot disentangle politics from the prevention, care and treatment of HIV and Aids.
So, I ran a search on Pubmed, an online medical journal database, to find out what has been published so far this year on Malawian HIV and Aids research. A few caught my eye and would be of interest to you.
One study looked at ‘Factors associated with depression among adolescents living with HIV in Malawi’. It aimed to identify contributory or protective factors associated with depression in Malawian adolescents aged 12–18 years old living with HIV. Of the 562 participants enrolled, the prevalence of depression was 18.9 percent. Having fewer years of schooling and being bullied for taking medications were most clearly associated with depression. The authors recommend that “Programmes to support the mental health needs of HIV-infected adolescents that address issues such as disclosure, educational support, and, most notably, bullying may improve treatment outcomes”.
‘A comparative analysis of national HIV policies in six African countries with generalised epidemics’ looked at national HIV policy documents and guidelines published in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2013. The authors found that Malawi was particularly advanced in promoting rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy. However, no country had a consistently enabling policy context expected to increase access to care and prevent attrition.
CO Zamawe and F Kasamula published a study on “What are the social and individual factors that are associated with undergoing male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy? A mixed methods study in Malawi”. Their study of 1 644 men, of at least 18 years, found certain men’s social and individual characteristics (for example, better knowledge of the benefits of MMC, greater perceived vulnerability to HIV, married and unemployed) increased the likelihood of circumcision as a prevention strategy for HIV.
Do you have a study you would like highlighted? Email me.n