Money the big issue when it comes to surviving HIV/AIDS # Scibraai Monday Menu

There is a cold reality contained in South Africa’s HIV/AIDS statistics: if you are poor, your chances of dying from the disease are more than 50% higher than if you have money in the bank. Your household will also be affected more severely, according to a systematic review in the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health. Among the authors is Charles Parry of the South African Medical Research Council and the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University, who collaborated with Canadian and German colleagues.

“Persons of low socioeconomic status had an over 50% higher risk of dying from HIV/AIDS,” says lead author Charlotte Probst.

HIV/AIDS Awareness Red Ribbon. Credit: www.wdgpublichealth.ca

HIV/AIDS Awareness Red Ribbon. Credit: www.wdgpublichealth.ca

Their meta-analysis is the first one to show that in South Africa persons of low socio-economic status (based on income, assets or employment status) are at >50% higher risk of dying from HIV/AIDS than people of high socio-economic status.

The goal of the review was to quantify the socioeconomic differences in the risk of dying from HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Aspects such as education, income, assets and employment status were taken into account. The researchers conducted a systematic literature search, and included ten studies comprising over 175 000 participants, and 6700 deaths in their review.

“Overall, one could conclude that persons of low SES face a self-perpetuating cycle of limited resources that complicate dealing with their HIV which in turn diminishes available resources further,” write the authors.

Download the full open source journal article here: Tropical Medicine & International Health

Reference: Probst, C., Parry, C.D.H. & Rehm, P.J. (2016).  Socioeconomic differences in HIV/AIDS mortality in South Africa, Tropical Medicine & International Health

Engela Duvenage

Co-founder of SciBraai.co.za. Day job: Science writer and science communicator who loves turning research papers into news stories. Claim to fame: mother of two daughters; winner of the Izethelo Award for Outstanding Journalism (2016) from the South African fruit industry, and winner of the best technical article award (2016) as presented by the South African Agricultural Writers' Association Background: MPhil (Journalism, specialising in science journalism) and HonsBA (Psychology).

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