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Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2011 Dec;8(4):215-22. doi: 10.1007/s11904-011-0089-1.

Mental health: a focus on stress, coping, and mental illness as it relates to treatment retention, adherence, and other health outcomes.

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Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Psychiatry/Behavioral Medicine Service, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Mental health problems are prevalent among HIV-infected individuals, with some estimates that 50% likely meet criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders. The mental health of HIV-infected individuals is important not only for quality-of-life concerns, but also in regard to HAART adherence and biological disease progression. The current review focuses on research published between 2009 and April of 2011, exploring mental health, coping, and stress in relation to HIV care behaviors including HAART adherence, quality of life, treatment retention, health care utilization, and disease progression amongst HIV-infected individuals. Specifically, we reviewed the most prevalent and interfering concerns among HIV-infected individuals-depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, interpersonal violence, stigma and shame, and body image concerns. Despite advances over the last 2 years documenting the deleterious effects of mental health on important HIV self-care behaviors, there is continued need for developing and disseminating evidence-based psychosocial interventions that integrate treating mental health problems with improving self-care behaviors for those living with HIV.

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