The objectives of the study were: 1) What is the burden of care for male and female family caregivers of AIDS patients? and 2) Which factors influence the family care burden for AIDS patients at home? A questionnaire was completed by 29 male and 91 female family caregivers of AIDS patients living in four rural areas in western Uganda. Participating caregivers were selected from a patient list of the home-based care program for AIDS patients and then interviewed. The responses from the questionnaire were used to calculate care burden scores for caregivers of both genders and the scores in each group were compared. In addition, other factors relevant to the burden of family care were extracted and tested in bivariate and multivariate analysis to test whether they were predictors of the care burden. Results show that the care burden scores were high in all domains, except those regarding relationship within the families and substance abuse. Both male and female caregivers reported a similar care burden. Caregivers for spouses had higher care burden scores compared to those who cared for other relatives. The intensity of care was also a significant predictor of the care burden, while other factors such as age, duration of care, and cognitive function of the care recipient were not associated with the care burden score. The high burden of care-giving puts family caregivers at risk for a lower health status, social isolation and depression. As both male and female caregivers report similar care burden scores for the same responsibilities, men are not unduly overburdened with the family care of AIDS patients compared to women and should be more actively involved in the care-giving process at home.

Author Biography

Walter Kipp, MD, MPH, PhD, Professor, is involved in international health since over 25 years. His work included long term work assignments in sub-Saharan Africa and short term consultancies in over 20 developing countries. Since 1997 he is part of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He is teaching two courses in international health and supervising graduate students. He won research and training grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC). Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Denis Tindyebwa, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Denis Tindyebwa is a trained pediatrician and has worked for many years as a clinical consultant for pediatric AIDS in Kampala, Uganda. He is also partner in a private consulting firm in Kampala. He was faculty member of Makerere University for many years. He was staff member of the Regional Centre for Quality and Health Care at Makerere University. Recently he has moved to Tanzania to head a program which aims at promoting treatment with antiretroviral drugs for children suffering from AIDS.

Ednah Karamagi, Kabarole Research and Resource Centre, Fort Portal, Uganda. Ednah Karamagi was trained at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She is presently working on her MSc thesis which examines economic conditions of women in western Uganda. She was a research officer for several years at the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre in Fort Portal, Kabarole District, Uganda, with a focus on community issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Recently she moved to Kampala to become Director of an NGO which helps children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Tom Rubaale, Basic Health Services Project, Fort Portal, Uganda. Tom Rubaale is trained in environmental health and has completed an MSc. He was Deputy Director of a large Primary Health Care support project in western Uganda, financed by the German Government. In 1994 he became team leader of the same project. Since September 2005, he is research coordinator for projects carried out within the framework of the Ugandan-Canadian collaboration between the University of Alberta, Canada and Makerere University, Uganda.