PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT AMONG CLIENTS USING ALCOHOL AND ILLICIT DRUGS AT THE COMPREHENSIVE CARE CENTRE AT THE COAST GENERAL HOSPITAL – KENYA: A DESCRIPTIVE CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY.
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Poor social support coupled with poor coping mechanisms among people with HIV infection may drive them to alcohol and illicit drug use to cope with the significant psychological challenges that HIV infection presents. In return, this affects adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy and progression to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome contributing to high mortality. The aim of the study was to explore perceived social support among clients using alcohol and illicit drugs at the Comprehensive Care Centre of the Coast General Hospital – Mombasa. The CAGE – AID (acronym for cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye opener – adapted to include drug use) tool was used to screen for alcohol and illicit drugs use and clients who scored ≥2 were included in the study. Convenience sampling method was used whereby 235 respondents were consecutively enrolled. Patients with a CAGE-AID score of ≥2 who consented were subjected to a socio-demographic questionnaire and the multidimensional scale of perceived social support (MSPSS). Data analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 21.0. Descriptive statistics were used to examine demographic characteristics. An analysis of variance was done to determine the significance of associations between the population characteristics and the various dimensions of social support. The confidence interval was set at 95%, p value at <0.05.The findings of the study demonstrated inadequate social support among HIV/AIDS infected alcohol and illicit drugs users. Providing social support may decrease the risk of alcohol and illicit drugs use hence better health outcomes. Social support should be strengthened in comprehensive care.