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Suicide and HIV 

Suicide and HIV
Chapter:
Suicide and HIV
Author(s):

César A. Alfonso

, Eva Stern-Rodríguez

, and Mary Ann Cohen

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199392742.003.0025
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date: 25 August 2019

HIV is a risk factor for suicide. Even after developing effective treatments and reducing mortality of HIV in countries with access to care, psychological and medical multimorbidities continue to create distress. This chapter reviews the global epidemiology of suicide in persons with HIV and describes the known predisposing and protective factors, as well as the psychodynamics of suicide. Predisposing factors include course of illness, symptomatic multimorbidities, physical incapacity, history of trauma, past attempts, hopelessness, family suicide, bereavement, poor social support and family relations, unemployment, unstable housing, detectable viral load, and access to lethal means. Protective factors include positive-reappraisal coping skills, treatment adherence, responsibility toward family, having reasons for living, religiosity, higher emotional expression, experiential involvement, and secure attachments. By identifying protective and risk factors clinicians can be more cognizant of persons at risk and better equipped to treat them. Timely application of psychotherapeutic, pharmacological, and psychosocial interventions can treat suicidality and may prevent death by suicide.

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