Title page for ETD etd-10192009-145934

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Calitz, Margaretha
Email b2h@ananzi.co.za
URN etd-10192009-145934
Document Title The effect of an aerobic exercise program on the health-related quality of life of HIV-positive employees
Degree Master of Arts
Department Biokinetics, Sport and Leisure Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Prof P E Krüger Supervisor
  • absenteeism
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • pain
  • fatigue
  • functional capacity
  • immune function
  • body composition
  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • exercise
  • health-related quality of life
Date 2009-04-15
Availability unrestricted

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) together with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a world wide pandemic. Sub Sahara Africa, of which South Africa forms a part, is host to the highest HIV population in the world. In the light of this, it is significant to conduct a study of the effect that aerobic exercise might have on the management of disease symptoms.

HIV and AIDS seriously affect the quality of life of the infected person. Decreased quality of life leads to decreases in productivity and increase in absenteeism. This has a negative effect on the economy.

Several symptoms of HIV and AIDS cause quality of life to decrease. In this study the following parameters of health related quality of life were investigated: body composition, functional capacity, pain, anxiety and depression and fatigue. Absenteeism was monitored.

The study further investigates how and why each of these parameters affects health related quality of life, and also the effect of aerobic exercise on the above mentioned parameters.

The body composition of HIV positive persons is affected in one of three ways: wasting of muscle mass due to the virus, obesity because of too high energy intake and too little activity in an attempt to stop wasting, or lipodystrophy due to anti retroviral therapy.

HIV patients have a decreased functional capacity. This may lead to fatigue, another common symptom in HIV patients. The prevalence of anxiety and depression is high in the HIV population, and even more so in South Africa.

It is clear from the literature that aerobic exercise for HIV patients is safe. It is also clear that aerobic exercise has a positive effect on the mentioned parameters – not only on the HIV population, but also on other diseases and the healthy population. Thus the assumption was made that aerobic exercise can be used as a tool to increase health related quality of life in HIV positive persons.

Initially, a quantitative pre-post test experimental design was proposed. In an attempt to recruit enough participants, the discovery was made that HIV is still a highly stigmatised disease in both Mpumalanga and Gauteng. After eighteen months of negotiations with AIDS clinics, mine groups and a newspaper advertisement, only three participants were enrolled. It must be kept in mind, however, that an important factor which influenced recruitment of participants was availability of funds. The indication was that HIV patients are willing to participate if there is proper compensation.

In order to continue with the study, the design changed to a case study. It combined two approaches: qualitative and quantitative. This seems to work well in HIV research. The qualitative and quantitative data supported each other and provided the bigger picture.

The results of this study support the expectation that aerobic exercise enhances the quality of life in HIV infected persons. Body composition and functional capacity improved. Feelings of anxiety and depression decreased and there were indications that pain and fatigue decreased as well. Absenteeism from work decreased in one person.

The conclusion was made that aerobic exercise definitely contributes to the enhancement of quality of life in HIV positive employees. Biokineticists, as exercise specialists, are ideally positioned to provide exercise tests and program prescriptions to this population and should play a bigger role in the management of HIV and AIDS symptoms.

Copyright © 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Calitz, M 2008, The effect of an aerobic exercise program on the health-related quality of life of HIV-positive employees, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10192009-145934/ >

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