Social network, social support and the rate of decline of CD4 lymphocytes in asymptomatic HIV-positive homosexual men.

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Abstract

AIMS: To test a stress-disease hypothesis by investigating the influence of social network and social support factors on the course over time of the CD4 lymphocytes in an HIV-positive population of gay men. METHODS: The study is a prospective cohort study of a representative population of HIV-positive gay men, undertaken at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Malmö University Hospital. This is the only clinic providing care for HIV-positive individuals in the city of Malmö in southern Sweden (population 248,000). A total of 115 HIV-positive homosexual men, who had not received an AIDS diagnosis, were invited to take part in the study. Seventy-five men (65%) accepted to be interviewed and 64 men (56%) fulfilled the inclusion criteria for the statistical analysis. RESULTS: In a multivariate analysis adjustments were made for age, level of the first CD4 count and time since first contact with the clinic. Men with high family contact frequency had a longer half-life (20.3 years) of the CD4 lymphocyte count than men with a low family contact frequency (7.4 years) (p = 0.03). Men with high social participation also had a longer half-life of CD4 lymphocyte count (14.7 years), compared with men with low social participation (6.3 years, p = 0.10). CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study imply the importance of social support and social network factors as modifiers of the rate of decline of the CD4 lymphocyte level, which is an important prognostic marker of survival in HIV-positive homosexual men.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Keywords

  • SOCIAL EPIDEMIOLOGY, PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY, PUBLIC HEALTH, HIV-1, CD-4 LYMPHOCYTES, SOCIAL SUPPORT
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume30
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes