Lower educational level results in late diagnosis

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A European study shows that the lowest educational level is related to a diagnosis and early treatment late

Educational level

Even in western countries where there is universal access to health care, a recent study revealed that there are socioeconomic inequalities when making the time an HIV test.

People with lower levels of education are more likely to be diagnosed when infection is more advanced and starting a treatment with a lower CD4 count.

Consequently, Sara Lodi and a team of colleagues decided to analyze the cohort data 15.414 people diagnosed with HIV in Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland between 1996 and 2011.

As alternative indicator for measuring the socioeconomic status, the team of researchers used the educational level, as it was the only dato collected in a standardized way in several European countries. Levels of education completed were classified as incomplete basic (usually dropping out of school before the 16 years), basic (usually up to 16 years), secondary (generally, schooling beyond 16 years) and tertiary (undergraduate or vocational courses) .

Between cohorts, although 73% of people with an incomplete basic education were diagnosed with HIV when their CD4 count was below 350 cells / mm3This percentage was reduced to 55% for people with tertiary education level. Similarly, 52% of people with an incomplete primary education were diagnosed with HIV when their CD4 count was below 200 cells / mm3With respect to only the 31% tertiary education group. The average scores of CD4 at diagnosis in both categories were 173 and 251 cells / mm3respectively.

Comment: It is possible that these results do not suppose a big surprise, but it is relatively rare to find pan-European studies focused on the social aspects of HIV. The researchers say that education can mean that people are provided with better access to health care, a more careful monitoring of their own health, make better decisions about health and to be better able to overcome the stigma and psychological factors such as low confidence in their own ability.


Diana Margarita


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