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Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder—The Special Role in HIV Transmission 

Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder—The Special Role in HIV Transmission
Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder—The Special Role in HIV Transmission

Antoine Douaihy

, Melanie Grubisha

, Maureen Lyon

, and Mary Ann Cohen

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date: 13 July 2020

The prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in persons with HIV is higher than in the general population. Adults with HIV are likely to have experienced traumatic events that place them at risk for developing PTSD. Among women with HIV, PTSD may be more common than depression, suicidality, and substance use. The high prevalence of PTSD is related to increased exposure to traumatic experiences such as physical violence and sexual assault, including intimate partner violence and childhood sexual abuse. The co-occurrence of PTSD and HIV creates complex challenges for both the management of HIV and treatment of PTSD. Individuals with PTSD and HIV experience more rapid illness progression and poorer health-related quality of life, with health-compromising behaviors such as substance use, high-risk sexual behavior, poor utilization of services, and low adherence to antiretroviral therapy. This chapter addresses the complexities of HIV, trauma, and PTSD and recommends trauma-informed care in the treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS.

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