AIDS Patients Cite Stigma, Depression
July 22, 2010 -- Seventeen percent of people with HIV/AIDS have not told their spouses or
partners about their health status, even though 96% reported having disclosed their HIV status to
at least one person, an international survey finds.
The survey of more than 2,000 HIV-infected people in a dozen countries reveals that in the U.S.,
42% of people with the virus feel isolated because of their infection, compared to 37%
worldwide. And 42% of people with HIV in the U.S. report feeling depressed.
Survey results make it clear that many people with HIV/AIDS still feel that HIV-associated
stigma and discrimination persist. Other findings of the survey:
97% of people surveyed are satisfied with their health care provider and 84% believe they
are being treated according to their individual needs.
74% say the benefits of HIV/AIDS treatments outweigh the side effects.
More than half of those surveyed say they are living with at least one co-morbidity, that
is, another major health problem such as heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, or
hepatitis C in addition to HIV/AIDS.
65% of respondents considered at high risk for heart disease say they are not talking to
doctors frequently about their heart problems.
62% say they have not discussed smoking cessation with their doctors and 69% say they
have not discussed hepatitis C.
The revelation of a significant gap in patient-health care provider conversation can affect the
long-term health and quality of life of people with the virus that causes AIDS, researchers say.
They say that when deciding on treatments, doctors should consider factors such as family
history, whether patients smoke, have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or are depressed, because
some treatments may be better than others.
“It is extremely common for patients living with HIV/AIDS to have co-morbid conditions that
may be exacerbated by the HIV virus or antiretroviral medications,” Jurgen Rockstroh, MD,