are at risk for loneliness
, with stigmatization and economic marginalization added to the health challenges arising from chronic infection. This study provides evidence for the extent, contributors, and consequences of loneliness
in people living with HIV
, focusing on brain health and quality of life
Cross-sectional data from 856 middle-aged and older adults living with HIV
recruited from five urban specialty clinics in Canada were drawn from the inaugural visit of the Positive Brain Health Now cohort study.
Participants completed an extensive assessment of biopsychosocial variables. The prevalence, severity and quality of life
impact of self-reported loneliness
were described. Clinical and environmental factors hypothesized as contributing to loneliness
and the consequences of loneliness
on health and function were identified using logistic, ordinal, and linear regression.
Eighteen percent reported being “quite often” and 46% “sometimes” lonely. Those with more loneliness
were younger, less mobile, suffered more financial hardship, and were more likely to use opioids. HIV
symptoms, pain, fatigue, low motivation, stigma, and unemployment were related to loneliness
increased the odds of cognitive impairment, low mood, stress, and poor physical health. Those who were “quite often” lonely were over four times more likely to report poor or very poor quality of life
than those who were “almost never” lonely.
is common in older people living with HIV
in Canada. Many of the associated factors are modifiable, offering novel targets for improving brain health, general health and quality of life