HIV, 8 out of ten patients suffer from anxiety or depression

HIV, 8 out of ten patients suffer from anxiety or depression

AGI – People with HIV face major challenges and the psychological and clinical burden of the infection remains high. A study, to be precise a survey conducted in recent months by Elma Research for Gilead Sciences out of 500 people with HIVthe results of which became the subject of a poster on mental health presented in Florence at the Simit congress, the Italian society of infectious medicine and tropical infections, reveals how the pathology affects psychological health in 77% of the sample under study.

In detail, 45% suffer from anxiety, 37% from mood disorders, 36% from sleep disorders. Data that brings attention to an often overlooked situation, namely the impact of HIV on mental health.

“51% of people are depressed – specifies Gabriella d’Ettorre, of the Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases at the Sapienza University of Rome – they complain of depression or have documented depression. 31% of those diagnosed with depression also report having a compromise in their quality of life and in carrying out normal daily activities. This data is really important, because you underline how difficult it will be with this type of disorder to achieve the objective we hope for, that is, that 90% of people on antiretroviral therapy, who are virologically suppressed, reach a state of well-being”.

The result is a powerful message addressed, first and foremost, to the entire medical community: “The survey highlights the importance of interdisciplinarity in the management of HIV infection – specifies D’Ettorre – therefore, alongside the infectious disease specialist, it is necessary for there to be a psychiatrist, a psychologist, but also other specialist figures useful for the management of other pathologies and comorbidities that appear”.

Equally decisive is the social dimension of the disease because, together with individual treatments against viruses and depression, an intervention is needed against the feeling of exclusion that still persists. In this sense, Gilead Sciences has promoted the ‘HIV. Shall we talk about it?’, with the patronage of numerous associations and scientific societies, including Simit, to increase awareness of the problems but at the same time, the university professor points out, “to combat stigma. And this can only be done by outlining the path linked to the infection, showing how manageable it is and how – with the achievement of virological suppression – the life of an HIV positive person is the same as that of a person without infection”.


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