Background The fear of disclosure remained a significant contribution to psychiatric morbidity among patients with HIV infection. This study aimed to determine which of the close associates did not know of the serostatus of the patients and how it influenced use of psychoactive substance and anxiety.
Method This was a prospective study among 159 patients with HIV infection attending outpatient clinic in of a teaching hospital in sokoto metropolis. They were interviewed using semi structured questionnaires which assessed individuals who were not aware of the serostatus of the patients and who patients would not want to be informed about their serostatus. Anxiety disorder was assessed using anxiety subscale of Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale while CAGE questionnaire was used to assess for alcohol dependence state. Data obtained was analysed using SPSS for windows version 16.0.
Results Nine (6.9%) reported that their spouses were not aware of their serostatus, 106 (76.8%) reported that their children were not aware of their serostatus while 59 (45.4%) reported that their workmate were not aware of their serostatus. The patients were biassed for close relatives such as children and parents as they would not like them to be informed of their serostatus while 6.9% would not want to inform anybody. Anxiety was more prevalent among subjects who reported that their children were not aware of their serostatus. In addition, 5.4% of subjects who were of opinion that their children were not aware had anxiety morbidity, increased use of psychoactive substances and use of alcohol in a manner suggestive of dependence state.
Conclusion There is need for further studies on hesitance of HIV patients to carry along close relatives, as benefits of supports and care are lost.
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