Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: The emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has had an enormous emotional impact on some vulnerable groups, such as people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLHIV). This study was planned with the aim of assessing the anxiety levels of PLHIV and the sources of their anxiety. Materials and methods: A web-based questionnaire was sent to PLHIV using the virtual snowball sampling method. The questionnaire included questions about sociodemographic status, information about HIV infection, and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Additionally, some opinions of the participants about COVID-19 were asked. Results: A total of 307 respondents, with a median age of 33 years, from 32 different cities, participated in the study. More than half of the respondents reported the belief that COVID-19 was not sufficiently well-known by the medical community and nearly 45% believed that they would have more complications if they contracted COVID-19. One-fourth of the participants had anxiety. Having a preexisting psychiatric disorder, perceiving that they were practicing insufficient preventive measures, not being sure about the presence of any individuals with COVID-19 in their environment, and living with a household member with a chronic disease were found to be the risk factors of PLHIV for having anxiety during this pandemic. The BAI scores were correlated with the patient-reported anxiety levels about the spread of COVID-19 in Turkey, acquiring COVID-19, transmitting COVID-19 to another person, and transmitting HIV to another person. Among the stated conditions, the most common concern was the spread of COVID-19 all over the country, while the least common was transmitting HIV to someone else. Conclusion: The results revealed that a significant proportion of the sample had anxiety, and the findings were essential for developing evidence-based strategies for decreasing the anxiety of PLHIV, especially for those who had risk factors and to provide them with better health care during this pandemic or other pandemic-like crises.


Anxiety, COVID-19, emotional response, HIV, pandemic, uncertainty

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