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MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS - HRSA HIV/AIDS Programs

MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS - HRSA HIV/AIDS Programs

MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS - HRSA HIV/AIDS

MAY 2009Diagnosis and TreatmentCase FindingAdherence IssuesAvenues to TreatmentMENTAL HEALTH MATTERSDID YOU KNOW?We found substantial and consistent evidence that chronic depression,stressful events, and trauma may negatively affect HIV diseaseprogression. 1 —Jane Leserman, University of North Carolina, Chapel HillDiagnosis and treatment of mental health issues are essential tothe physical health and quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS(PLWHA). Psychiatric disorders are a barrier to medical care and adherenceto medications, and several studies have found that depression,stress, and trauma can lead to disease progression and increased mortality.2–5 The power of mental health treatment to reduce depressionand anxiety, improve adherence and HIV health outcomes and, in turn,reduce the likelihood of death from AIDS-related causes speaks to thevital role of mental health care in the web of HIV care. 6–9The HIV Costs and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS) found thatnearly 50 percent of adults being treated for HIV also have symptoms ofa psychiatric disorder—prevalence that is 4 to 8 times higher than in thegeneral population. Nineteen percent of patients studied showed signsof substance abuse, and 13 percent had co-occurring mental illness andsubstance abuse disorders. 10In approximately one-half ofpeople living with HIV/AIDS whohave depression, the depressionis both undiagnosed anduntreated. 11A significant percentage ofpatients who commit suicide seetheir primary care clinician in themonth before their suicide. 12DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES USAVisit us online at www.hrsa.gov

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