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Psychiatric Illness and Treatment in HIV Populations 

Psychiatric Illness and Treatment in HIV Populations
Chapter:
Psychiatric Illness and Treatment in HIV Populations
Author(s):

Elizabeth David

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190493097.003.0037
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date: 08 December 2019

The interaction between HIV and mental illness is complex. For many individuals, the psychiatric condition is a preexisting one, predisposing to HIV infection through behavioral factors and risk environment. The risk factors for HIV are well established and involve blood/bodily fluid contact with infected individuals: unprotected sexual behaviors, needle sharing, multiple sexual partners, and fetal/natal exposure. Individuals with preexisting psychiatric illness often engage in risky behaviors with little thought or fear of consequences. This relates to increased emotional immaturity and impulsivity, poor contact with reality, denial and disinhibition, cognitive dysfunction, active thoughts of self-harm, and victimization or impaired judgment. Barriers to treatment, such as distrust of authority, poor communication skills, limited access, lack of motivation, and unstructured lifestyle, result in poor overall health care and delayed diagnosis of all health issues. Diagnosis of mental health issues is frequently challenging, and adherence to treatment is frequently impacted by these same factors.

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