HIVers in France who do not have a permanent job or a steady relationship have a higher risk of being hospitalized during early HIV disease than their coupled or steadily employed peers, researchers reported in the October 1 edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
A study of 319 HIV patients between 1996 and 2002 showed that 84 were hospitalized and three died. Study subjects with temporary employment, who were unpartnered, or both were significantly more likely to have been hospitalized during the first few months of HIV infection. Having a mental disorder or depression or a history of injection-drug use also was linked with a greater chance of being hospitalized.
The researchers theorize that poor social or economic conditions could lead to stress, which in turn can weaken the body's immune system defenses or increase such unhealthy practices as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.