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HIV/AIDS and Mental Health

Studies show that people living with HIV may be more likely than the general population to develop mental disorders like depression or anxiety.

After being diagnosed as HIV-positive, you may feel:

  • Stressed
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Helpless
  • Conflicting emotions.

HIV can also directly impact the brain, causing impairments in memory and thinking.

How are HIV/AIDS and mental health related?

A mental disorder like depression may seem like an unavoidable reaction to being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. But mental disorders are separate illnesses that can and should be treated, even when you are undergoing treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Currently available mental health treatments are generally well- tolerated and safe. But to avoid dangerous drug interactions, people with HIV/AIDS should talk with their health care provider about side effects, possible drug interactions, and other mental health treatment options.

What should I do if I have HIV/AIDS and a mental disorder?

If you are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, tell your doctor about

  • Your mental health history
  • Any medications you are taking
  • Any counseling you are receiving.

You can also ask your HIV doctor for a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker who has experience counseling and treating patients with HIV.

Dealing with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis can be overwhelming. But it is important to take care of your mental health as well. Treating mental health issues can help you manage your HIV/AIDS symptoms and improve your overall health.

For more information

The following webpages have more information about HIV and mental health: