Resilience in People Living With HIV During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Impaired resilience was found to be associated with loneliness.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought an onslaught of stressors to many individuals, including people living with HIV (PLWH). The term that defines an individual’s positive adaption to stressors like the pandemic is called Resilience.

Recently, investigators from the Department of Surgical, Medical, Dental and Morphological Sciences at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, conducted a study which set out to understand the relationship between frailty and resilience and how it can impact quality of life.

Data from the study was presented at the 11th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science.

The team of investigators conducted an observational study of PLWH attending the Modena HIV Metabolic Clinic. Using a 37-item frailty index (FI), they assessed frailty in 2019 prior to the start of the pandemic.

The score from the index was categorized as either fir or frail. Then, in January of 2021, they offered a set of electronic questionnaires, including the CD-RISC-25 for resilience and EQ-5D5L for QoL, to PLWH.

Findings from the study showed that out of the 575 respondents, the median age was 54.5 years with a median HIV duration of 24.3 years. Impaired resilience was associated with loneliness, but age, sex, HIV risk and duration were not.

Additionally, predictors for EQ-5D5L were phenotypes 'frail/non-resilient' and 'fit/non-resilient'.

“Resilience characterizes well-being of PLWH during COVID crisis, highlighting that this construct is complementary to frailty in the identification of clinical phenotypes with different impacts on relevant clinical outcomes including QoL,” the authors wrote. “Loneliness in PLWH requires further attention and dedicated interventions.”