Advancing research and practice in HIV and rehabilitation: a framework of research priorities in HIV, disability and rehabilitation
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BACKGROUND: HIV increasingly is experienced as a complex chronic illness where individuals are living longer with a range of physical, cognitive, mental and social health-related challenges associated with HIV, comorbidities and aging, a concept that may be termed 'disability'. Rehabilitation such as physical therapy and occupational therapy can help address disability and has the potential to improve quality of life in people living with HIV. Hence, the role for rehabilitation in the context of HIV, aging and comorbidities is emerging. Our aim was to establish a framework of research priorities in HIV, disability and rehabilitation. METHODS: We convened people living with HIV, clinicians, researchers, service providers, representatives from community-based organizations and policy and funding stakeholders to participate in the first International Forum on HIV and Rehabilitation Research. We conducted a multi-stakeholder consultation to identify current and emerging issues in HIV, disability and rehabilitation. Data were collated and analyzed using content analytical techniques. RESULTS: Ninety-two participants attended the Forum from Canada, United Kingdom (UK), Ireland and the United States. Situated within three overarching themes (episodic health and disability across the life course; rehabilitation; and methodological advances), the Framework of Research Priorities in HIV, Disability and Rehabilitation includes six research priorities: 1) episodic health and disability; 2) aging with HIV across the life course; 3) concurrent health conditions; 4) access to rehabilitation and models of rehabilitation service provision; 5) effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions; and 6) enhancing outcome measurement in HIV and rehabilitation research. The Framework includes methodological considerations and environmental and personal contextual factors (or lenses) through which to approach research in the field. Knowledge translation should be implemented throughout the development and application of research knowledge to inform HIV clinical practice, programming and policy. CONCLUSIONS: These priorities highlight the emerging priorities of living long-term with HIV and outline a plan for HIV and rehabilitation research in resource-rich countries such as the UK and Canada.
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