Acceptability and feasibility of peer-administered group interpersonal therapy for depression for people living with HIV/AIDS-a pilot study in Northwest Ethiopia
Psychological treatments are widely tested and have been effective in treating depressive symptoms. However, implementation of psychological treatments in the real world and in diverse populations remains difficult due to several interacting barriers. In this study, we assessed the acceptability and feasibility of peer-administered group interpersonal therapy for depressive symptoms among people living with HIV/AIDS in Northwest Ethiopia.
We conducted a single-arm, peer-administered, group interpersonal therapy intervention with eight weekly sessions from 15 August to 15 December 2019 among people living with HIV/AIDS in Northwest Ethiopia. Four interpersonal therapy groups were formed for the intervention with a total of 31 participants.
Of the 31 recruited participants, 29 completed the intervention providing a retention rate of 93.5%. The process of the intervention and its outcomes were highly acceptable as most participants expressed success in resolving their psychosocial problems, adjusting to life changes and coping with stigma. The intervention was also reported to be feasible despite anticipated barriers such as access to transportation, perceived stigma and confidentiality concerns. The post-intervention assessment revealed significant reduction in depressive symptoms (mean difference (MD) = 9.92; t = − 7.82; 95% CI, − 12.54, − 7.31; p < 0.001), improvement in perceived social support (MD = 0.79; t = 2.84; 95% CI, 0.22, 1.37; p = 0.009) and quality of life (MD = 0.39; t = 4.58; 95% CI, 0.21, 0.56; p < 0.001).
Group interpersonal therapy is feasible and acceptable, and people living with HIV/AIDS can benefit from group interpersonal therapy in managing depressive symptoms and in improving perceived social support and quality of life. Future studies should examine the effectiveness of group interpersonal therapy in this setting.