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Positive Eye: General

Mon 23 Sep, 2013
By Editor


This report emphasises the importance of ensuring the clinical community are fully aware of the impact that HIV can have on mental and emotional wellbeing

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States of Mind Report shows three quarters of people living with HIV experience mental health issues and recommends improvements to services

High Wycombe, 21st September 2013: New research by leading HIV support agency Positively UK, in partnership with Janssen, has provided fresh insights into the links between HIV and poor mental wellbeing. The results, launched today at Positively UK’s Conference of People Living With HIV and published in the States of Mind Report, highlight the burden of poor mental health in the HIV community. The report explores the impact of mental health issues on the lives of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and calls for more to be done to reduce the burden.

Positively UK commissioned research that surveyed the experiences and views of almost 200 PLWHIV.1 Results showed that:
• Three quarters (75%) of respondents have experienced mental health problems
• Nearly a quarter (24%) have missed treatment doses as a result, potentially impacting on their overall health
• Six out of ten (68%) respondents stated that they had suffered from depression in the past year
• Only two fifths (40%) of PLWHIV surveyed made use of counselling or psychology services
• Just half (51.4%) of respondents had discussed these issues with their support worker

“Despite the support available, mental health problems, and depression in particular, are hugely important issues for people living with HIV,” said Allan Anderson, Chief Executive of Positively UK.

“The findings of the States of Mind report highlight that more needs to be done to support people and ensure they are offered holistic care. I urge people with HIV, healthcare professionals and support workers to read the report and work together to improve mental wellbeing in the HIV community.”

The report also found that: 1
• Of those PLWHIV to experience depression, almost a third considered the condition to have had a ‘huge impact’ on their quality of life
• Seven out of ten women with HIV experienced mental health issues in the past year
• 40% of respondents have experienced discrimination in the past 12 months

Based on the survey findings, which reflected a representative sample of the HIV community,2 the report calls for more to be done to support the mental health of PLWHIV. The States of Mind Report makes a number of recommendations:
• Improvements must be made across all HIV services to tackle the ongoing challenge of mental health issues in the HIV community
• Increased dialogue between PLWHIV and healthcare professionals is needed to better understand the complex relationship between mental health and adherence to treatment
• Closer coordination is needed between multidisciplinary support functions to help ensure a more effective allocation of service provision

Professor Jane Anderson, Director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, and Consultant Physician at Homerton University Hospital in London, commented: “This report emphasises the importance of ensuring the clinical community are fully aware of the impact that HIV can have on mental and emotional wellbeing. The multidisciplinary clinical team in HIV medicine is uniquely placed to address the totality of the health and wellbeing needs of people who use our clinics. We must seek ways to care for people effectively in terms of the physical and mental aspects of HIV.”

Positively UK has received support from Janssen to conduct the research. Janssen has a heritage of developing innovative HIV treatments and is committed to the future fight against HIV and providing information and support for people with HIV and those working with them.

The full States of Mind Report can be accessed at the following link:
www.positivelyUK.org/states-of-mind.

 

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