HIV and Mental Health

HIV and mental health are deeply correlated. It has been studied that in most cases, poor mental health makes a person more vulnerable to HIV. On the other hand, the disease also has direct effect on the patient's mental health.

Therefore, HIV and mental health are a two way order, entwined with each other. HIV prevalence in mentally disturbed patients and out patients is 23%, while for the rest of the population; the percentage is just 0.4%. This is because; people with mental illness are more prone to indulge in highly risked behavioral activities than the general population. Tendencies for committing risky behavior that leads to HIV contraction is around 50% in those people who are mentally ill. Although, one cannot conclude that these behavioral trends are not at all found in a mentally stable HIV patient, these behaviors are significantly more common in those who are mentally disturbed or unstable.

Risky behaviors that may be pertained to HIV contraction include:

The points discussed above, denotes the relationship between HIV and mental health disorder that pre-existed within the patients. However, there many direct impacts of HIV on the patient's mental health.

HIV and mental health are also dependent on the impact of the disease on the central nervous system, causing several neuro-psychiatric disorders like

Frank dementia leading to loss of vision, depression and degeneration of brain stem, Diplopia (one can see two images of one single object) and Dysarthria (speech disorder).

Therefore, HIV and mental health are related in terms of the psychological history of the patient and the impact of the disease on him.

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