Archive for May 2017

Mental health care is key to ending AIDS

May 24, 2017

From Advocate.com

Research shows a strong correlation between mental health disorders and living with HIV or AIDS, a correlation that is often overlooked. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with HIV have an increased risk for developing mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders and are twice as likely to live with depression as those who do not have HIV. A 2010 U.K. study showed that one-third of HIV-positive men who participated in the survey met the criteria for a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.  

For those living with HIV or AIDS, depression is more than just mental hell — it can be a silent killer. Studies show that if people living with HIV feel stigmatized or suffer from mental illness, they are less likely to take their medication properly, which not only puts their own health at risk by not suppressing the individuals’ viral load, but also raises the likelihood that they will pass HIV on to others. Individuals living with HIV and depression are also more likely to think about suicide or even attempt to take their own lives. 

Despite what we know about the connection between mental health and HIV/AIDS, too few people living with HIV or AIDS, and those invested in their health and happiness, are getting the mental health support they need. That is why we are proud to announce the opening of the state-of-the-art GMHC Carl Jacobs Mental Health Clinic, which will allow us to incorporate innovative treatment and counseling into our service model. Services will be available to adult New Yorkers of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and income levels, regardless of HIV status.

Past traumas, stress, depression, reduced self-esteem, and other challenges can be grueling to deal with. We aim to offer holistic services that address not only our clients’ mental health issues, but their social, spiritual and health concerns as well. Meanwhile, the ability to reach more HIV-negative people with HIV-preventive interventions and mental health services will help us decrease new HIV infections. 

Read the full article.

Life expectancy of HIV patients increasing thanks to new drugs

May 16, 2017

A study published in the Lancet Medical Journal revealed that life expectancy of HIV patients is nearing to that of a normal person due to improvements in medicines. The study suggests that a twenty-year-old person who has started antiretroviral therapy in 2010 is expected to live for ten years more when compared to individuals who started medications in 1996.

According to experts, early identification and treatment are quite crucial for a healthy living among HIV patients. The Lancet Journal report also highlights the progress made in this study for the past three decades.

The study was led by researchers at the Bristol University, and they believe this progress as a tremendous medical achievement. The team believes that the new finding will encourage HIV-affected people to start treatment as soon as they can so that they can also lead a full life just like normal people. 88500 people across Europe and North America were involved in the study.

 

Dr. Larry Corey of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network talks about what it will take to rid the world of AIDS

May 4, 2017

From Time Health

In many ways, the domestic and global fight against HIV/AIDs has made great strides. Yet there are still millions of people who are newly diagnosed with HIV globally each year.

One preventive strategy receiving renewed attention and progress is an HIV vaccine. Dr. Larry Corey, the principal investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recently launched a highly ambitious HIV vaccine study, which will test a protective antibody on thousands of people around the world.

Dr Corey“I am cautiously optimistic,” said Corey during a panel discussion at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference on Tuesday. Corey says researchers could start seeing very early results from the trials as early April 2019.

Beyond a vaccine, getting people rapid treatment is another way to keep infection rates down, and help people with an HIV diagnosis live a long and healthy life. Dr. Diane Havlir, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has been part of an innovative program in San Francisco focused on substantially curb the spread of HIV in the city. A key pillar of the program’s success lies in its strategy to get recently infected people into treatment on the same day as their diagnosis.

“We need to work together in order to reduce the number of HIV infections,” said Havlir during the conference, adding that getting patients into treatment quickly can help empower them to take charge of their treatment. It’s also an inexpensive strategy.

But what will it take to get to zero infections worldwide? Both Corey and Havlir said public commitment and cross sector engagement will be critical. “For sure, HIV is the epidemic of our time,” said Corey. “I think to some extent the health care of our generation is going to be defined by how we handle [it] … We need sustained commitment.”

Havlir agrees. “Invest in research. Invest in care. Either we pay now, or we pay later,” she said.

Watch the video interview here.