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Objectives: The present investigation looks into the levels of perceived stigma, perceived social support and psychosocial functioning of individuals with HIV consulting at an infectious diseases clinic in Helsinki, Finland. Background: The AIDS pandemic continues to be a serious global health concern with an estimated 38 million individuals infected with HIV worldwide the majority of which are in developing countries. In many developed countries, the increased use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been associated with dramatic health benefits, improving prognosis for HIV-infected individuals. With HIV increasingly regarded as a chronic' disease in developed countries, there is a need to further clarify the psychosocial aspects of HIV/AIDS as disease-related stigma continues to make significant impact on both the individual and the larger society. Design/Methods: HIV-positive individuals consulting at the HIV/AIDS Clinic at the Aurora Hospital (HUCH Division of Infectious Diseases), Helsinki, Finland were recruited within a 1 month period in June 2004. They were asked to complete the HIV Stigma Scale (Berger 1996), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet et al. 1998) Texas Christian University (TCU) Psychosocial Functioning Scale (Knight et al. 1994). Results/Outcome: Main outcomes: HIV Stigma Scale Score, Psychological Function Score, Perceived Stigma Scale Score. Results: Results show that the respondents in the study may not generally feel stigmatized but that they may have issues with disclosing their HIV status. Respondents show a pattern of good psychosocial functioning. Most respondents feel that they get strong support from friends, family and significant others and they were also satisfied with the kind of healthcare that they receive particularly as a person living with HIV. Conclusion: The small number of participants (n=12) recruited within the 1-month study period precluded any statistically significant results but the study demonstrated that the instruments can be used to investigate psychosocial parameters of HIV among PLWH in Helsinki.'


College of Medicine, University of the Philippines -Manila; Unpublished research paper submitted to the Finnish Association in International Health for the Diploma in Global Health, July 2004


Poster presented at: Making Primary Health Care Work: Challenges for Education and Practice of the Health Workforce. The Network: TUFH International Conference. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, November 12-17, 2005