HIV and Mental Health

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Mental health problems can affect anyone but it seems that people living with HIV are more likely to experience a range of problems related to mental health.

Mental health problems are an important issue for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Mental health is important for everyone. If you have a significant chronic physical illness, such as HIV/AIDS, issues like emotional anxiety, stress and depression, may appear to be of secondary importance for your health.

In reality however, mental health is an integral part of any individual’s overall health, especially if the individual is HIV positive. For example, it is important to understand that HIV+ people who have mental health problems are likely to not follow correctly their antiretroviral therapy.

Thanks to the success of new drugs against HIV, many HIV+ people live for many years. This does not mean that mental health is no longer important to them. If you live with a chronic illness, issues such as the uncertainty about the future, the side effects of the medicines, the fear concerning the illness’ future development and even everyday events might cause impediments and complications to mental health.

Therefore, it is important for HIV positive individuals to have access to information on how HIV can affect their mental health and on common mental health issues such as depression, stress and emotional anxiety.

Some key issues about HIV and Mental Health

  • Mental health is important for HIV+ people
  • People living with HIV appear to be more likely to experience a range of mental health problems, including depression.
  • HIV infection might cause senility and mania but these problems are nowadays very rare thanks to the new antiretroviral treatments
  • Effective treatments are now available (pharmaceutical treatment and psychotherapy) that can help if you have a certain psychological disorder, such as depression
  • Certain medicine against HIV might have side effects, including mental health problems
  • There are things you can do to take care of your mental health
  • There are qualified professionals who can help you if you have mental health problems