Background: HIV/AIDS is one of the diseases which not only makes threats to physical health, but also, due to the negative attitudes of people and the social stigma, affects the emotional and social health of patients. The aim of this study was to identify the psychological, social, and family problems of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Iran.
Methods: In this qualitative study, we used purposive sampling to enroll PLWHA, their families, and physicians and consultants in two cities of Kermanshah and Tehran. Each group of PLWHA, their families, physicians, and consultants participated in two focus group discussions (FGDs), and a total of eight FGDs were conducted. Six interviews were held with all key people, individually.
Results: Based on the views and opinions of various groups involved in the study, the main problems of PLWHA were: Ostracism, depression, anxiety, a tendency to get revenge and lack of fear to infect others, frustration, social isolation, relationship problems, and fear due to the social stigma. Their psychological problems included: Marriage problems, family conflict, lack of family support, economic hardships inhibiting marriage, and social rejection of patient's families. Their family problems were: Unemployment, the need for housing, basic needs, homelessness, and lack of social support associations.
Conclusions: It seems that the identification and focusing on psychological, social, and family problems of affected people not only is an important factor for disease prevention and control, but also enables patients to have a better response to complications caused by HIV/AIDS.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Iran; psychological needs; qualitative study; social needs.