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BackgroundMothers and other primary caregivers play a crucial role in looking after perinatally HIV infected, and HIV exposed uninfected adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Day- to-day caregiving in the context of limited instrumental support and added biomedical risk (HIV seropositivity) may expose these caregivers to adverse states of health. Unfortunately, very few studies have examined their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Our study documents the HRQoL profile, and associated factors in primary caregivers of perinatally HIV infected, perinatally HIV exposed but uninfected and HIV unexposed/uninfected adolescents aged 12-17 years at the Kenyan Coast.MethodsThis was a cross-sectional analysis of 485 primary caregivers: 195 of perinatally HIV infected adolescents, 128 of perinatally HIV exposed but uninfected adolescents and 162 of HIV unexposed/uninfected adolescents. All caregivers completed a self-report measure of HRQoL (having 8 subscales), depressive symptoms, and parenting stress. They also provided their sociodemographic information and that of the care recipients. We used one-way analysis of variance to assess statistical differences among the groups. Linear regression analyses were used to identify correlates of HRQoL.ResultsOverall, caregivers of HIV unexposed/uninfected adolescents reported significantly higher mean HRQoL scores than the other caregivers in the overall HRQoL domain and majority of the subscales. There were no statistical differences in the overall HRQoL scores and most subscales between caregivers of HIV exposed adolescents. Linear regression analyses across the sample indicated that depressive symptoms, increasing age of caregiver, and caring for an adolescent perinatally exposed to HIV were significantly associated with reduced HRQoL at both the overall and sub-scale level. Having a professional job relative to subsistence farming was the only factor associated with improved overall HRQoL. At subscale level, higher socioeconomic status correlated positively with HRQoL while being a grandparent, level of education, parenting stress were negatively associated with HRQoL.ConclusionsCaregivers in this sample, especially those who are ageing, at risk of mental ill-health, and taking care of adolescents perinatally exposed to HIV, appear to be vulnerable to poor quality of life. Inclusive and multi-component interventions tailored to the caregivers' psychosocial and mental needs will potentially enhance their quality of life.

Original publication





Health and quality of life outcomes

Publication Date





Centre for Geographic Medicine Research Coast, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), P.O. Box 230-80108, Kilifi, Kenya.


Humans, HIV Infections, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, Quality of Life, Adolescent, Caregivers, Kenya