It has been shown that Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive adolescents are more vulnerable to behavioural problems than non-infected adolescents and stress compromises immune function. There is some evidence that yoga and peer support benefits mental health. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a 10-week programme of peer support and yoga on the psychological well being of HIV positive Zambian adolescents. An exploratory randomized controlled trial design was used. Adolescents aged 11 to 16 (n = 34) were randomized to peer group with yoga, peer support only group/social support group or waitlist control. Outcomes were immune function (CD4 count), self-rated physical health (SF12), psychological well being (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). Outcomes were measured pre intervention, post intervention and at 10 weeks follow-up. There were no differences between the yoga and peer support group and the peer support only group, and both were evaluated well by participants. The peer only group had fewer emotional symptoms after the intervention (p < 0.05), while a combination of yoga and peer support group had a beneficial effect on CD4 count (p < 0.05). There were no differences between the groups at 10-week follow-up. Peer support/social support interventions were associated with short term benefits for the psychological and physical well-being in HIV positive adolescents, suggesting the need for sustained support.
Key words: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), adolescents, yoga, peer support.
Copyright © 2021 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0