Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Survey Results

I mentioned in a previous post that we did a survey of people with HIV in Trujillo. Well, I wrote up the results in a report over a month ago, but until I got internet I wasn't able to put it online. But now it's up. Anyone who's interested can check it out here (it's in spanish, but there are a lot of graphs so you don't need to understand much to get the gist).

Doing the survey was a big learning experience for me. First off, the group funding us, Comité de Emergencia Garífuna Hondureña, wanted the survey to measure everything from adherence to demographics to quality of life. Second, there weren't many surveys I could find online that were designed for people with HIV, and fewer still that were in Spanish. So I downloaded a bunch of related surveys (often designed for HIV- people) and created a frankenstein survey out of bits and pieces.

I did my best to envision where cultural, educational or language differences would make the survey hard to understand, and tailor the questions accordingly. Unfortunately, even my best efforts fell far short, and I had to throw out a number of questions. There are also many results (particularly all the results for the quality of life questions) that I believe are not very reliable. The lesson: keep it simple, and then make it even simpler.

As for results, I thought it was interesting that so few people actually get treatment from the Hospital in Trujillo (the only hospital with ARVs in all of Colón). About one-third go elsewhere for treatment (like Ceiba, Tela, San Pedro Sula). About one-third don't get treatment at all. I'd love to do a follow up survey to explore why this is. Is it because of stigma? People may not want to go for treatment at a local hospital because of the risk of being "outed" as HIV+. Is it because of poor quality of care? While the staff at the hospital does its best, there are many shortcomings in both resources and proper training for staff. Are they pursuing traditional/religious remedies? Some evangelical pastors tell people with HIV that by accepting Jesus they will be cured. Some garífuna people go to see witch-doctors instead of going to the hospital. And there could be more reasons I haven't thought of.

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