Our knowledge of the problems or adaptive demands associated with HIV infection has largely been derived from clinical history taking and qualitative research of persons with AIDS. This study uses a behaviour-analytic approach to systematically describe and quantify the specific adaptive demands encountered by persons with HIV across the disease continuum. Ninety six HIV-infected gay men and 33 seronegative comparison group participants were interviewed in depth. Participants were divided into three groups representing the disease continuum: seronegative, HIV asymptomatic and HIV symptomatic groups. Responses to a Problem Checklist were statistically and content analysed. Distressing emotions, relationship difficulties and HIV-related symptoms were the three most frequently endorsed problems and were also the three most frequently reported problems of most concern. Overall there was a trend for instrumental difficulties to increase with disease progression, whereas emotional and existential problems did not vary as a function of HIV stage. The behaviour-analytic approach to the specification of problems related to HIV infection has implications for both clinical and research endeavours. The specification of problems provided a means for accurately identifying common problems to target and could, therefore, provide the basis for developing suitably matched interventions for use with HIV-infected persons.
- Adaptive demands
- HIV infection