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Intersecting Relationships of Psychosocial and Structural Syndemic Problems Among People with HIV in South Africa: Using Network Analysis to Identify Influential Problems

AIDS Behav. 2022 Oct 30. doi: 10.1007/s10461-022-03906-z. Online ahead of print.


In South Africa, little is known about interrelationships between syndemic problems among people with HIV (PWH). A better understanding of syndemic problems may yield important information regarding factors amenable to mitigation. We surveyed 194 PWH in Khayelitsha, outside of Cape Town, South Africa. We used network analysis to examine the frequency of 10 syndemic problems and their interrelationships. Syndemic problems among PWH in South Africa were common; 159 (82.8%) participants reported at least 2 co-occurring syndemic problems and 90 (46.9%) endorsed 4 or more. Network analysis revealed seven statistically significant associations. The most central problems were depression, substance use, and food insecurity. Three clusters of syndemics were identified: mood and violence; structural factors; and behavioral factors. Depression, substance use, and food insecurity commonly co-occur among PWH in sub-Saharan Africa and interfere with HIV outcomes. Network analysis can identify intervention targets to potentially improve HIV treatment outcomes.

PMID:36309936 | DOI:10.1007/s10461-022-03906-z

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