Module 3: Living with HIV/AIDS

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Module 3: Living with HIV/AIDS Powered By Docstoc
					Chapter 6:
Psychological and
Social Challenges of
Living with HIV/AIDS
Psychological and Social Challenges
of Living with HIV/AIDS

   People living with HIV/AIDS face unique psychological and social challenges:
      from HIV disease itself
      from anti-HIV treatment
      from HIV/AIDS-related stress and uncertainty
      from grieving the loss of HIV+ loved ones
      as well as stigma and discrimination
HIV/AIDS-Related Psychological
   HIV and opportunistic diseases can alter a person’s
    brain and nervous system, causing psychological
   Psychological disorders associated with HIV include:
      HIV-associated dementia (HAD)
      Minor cognitive-motor disorder (MCMD)
      Mood disorders, like depression
      Anxiety disorders
      Brain tumors
      Opportunistic infections of the brain and nervous
Other HIV/AIDS-Related
Psychological Concerns
   Psychological side effects of anti-HIV drugs
      These can range from moodiness and aggressive behavior to severe
       depression, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
   HIV/AIDS-related psychological distress
      Chronic physical pain
      Physical disfigurement
      Possibility of infecting other people
      Changes to lifestyle to accommodate illness and
       financial burdens of treatment
      Possible discrimination, abuse, and loss of human rights
      Guilt about burdening friends and family
      Loss of independence
      Physical, social, and emotional isolation
      Uncertainty in the medical, personal, and social domains
      Hopelessness, frustration, and self-blame related to not responding to
Meeting the Psychological Needs of
Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
   HAART gives hope and optimism to HIV+
    people, which improves physical health,
    decreases depression, and prolongs life span
   Providing psychological services for HIV+
    persons helps the general public as well, as
    high levels of depression and maladaptive
    coping with HIV infection have been
    associated with substance use and risky
    sexual behavior, which puts others at risk for
    acquiring HIV
   The stress of HIV/AIDS can be buffered by the
    social support provided by support groups
   Coping and stress management programs
    positively affect the mental health of people
    living with HIV/AIDS
Living with the Uncertainties of
   People who live with HIV/AIDS often face uncertainty.
   Such uncertainty is stressful and can impair HIV+ people’s quality of life

             Medical Uncertainties        Financial Uncertainties
                Not enough information       Claiming disability status
                 about diagnoses              Amount of money for
                Ambiguous symptoms            needed for treatment is
                Complex and uncertain         unknown
                                           Social Uncertainties
                Unpredictable disease
                 progression or prognosis     Unpredictable
                                               interpersonal reactions
             Personal Uncertainties          Unclear relational
                Identity dilemmas             implications
HIV/AIDS-Related Grief
   Most people living with HIV/AIDS have lost someone to HIV disease
   As a result, HIV+ people commonly have high levels of HIV/AIDS loss-
    related psychological distress
   Coping with a loss due to HIV/AIDS may differ from coping with losses to
    other diseases in several ways:

                       Many people who die from complications of HIV disease
                        die at a relatively young age
                       The stigma associated with HIV may prevent those who
                        survive from freely mourning or acknowledging the cause
                        of death
                       In the United States, HIV has been highly concentrated
                        within specific populations. People in these communities
                        have lost many to HIV/AIDS and have watched their
                        social networks dwindle
                       “Survivor’s guilt” may prevent those who have lost loved-
                        ones from fully grieving and recovering
Community-Based Responses to
HIV Loss

Stigma and Discrimination
   HIV/AIDS is one of the most stigmatizing medical conditions in
    modern history
   Many communities direct unfavorable attitudes, beliefs, and policies
    toward people who have or who are associated with HIV/AIDS,
    including their loved-ones, family members, close associates, and
    social groups
Effects of HIV/AIDS-Related
Stigma and Discrimination
   HIV/AIDS-related stigma affects           The stigma of HIV/AIDS is
    HIV/AIDS diagnosis and                     combined for many with the
    treatment                                  stigma of homosexuality and illicit
       Many people are hesitant to            drug use
        find out their serostatus, or to         Fear of discrimination may
        seek treatment for HIV                     compel men who have sex
        disease                                    with men to keep their sexual
                                                   behavior secret and deny their
                                                   sexual risk
                                                 Stigma from drug use restricts
                                                   effective HIV/AIDS prevention
                                                   and treatment

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