Navigation Links
Despite Advances, HIV/AIDS Still Takes Heavy Emotional Toll

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- For many it's a good news/bad news scenario.

People with HIV/AIDS are living longer and healthier lives than ever before, but they still have a chronic disease that's potentially fatal and carries a heavy stigma, said Jorie Barna, a care coordinator for the AIDS/HIV Services Group in Charlottesville, Va.

Barna, who lived in San Francisco during the 1980s and 1990s, said she saw the debilitating and deadly toll that HIV/AIDS took before the development of lifesaving antiretroviral medications.

"Living with HIV today is very manageable," said Barna, 43, who has a case load of 50 patients whom she monitors. "If somebody were to take care of themselves, eat well, keep their stress levels down, exercise regularly and take their medications, they could live long lives. I think in another decade, living with HIV will be like diabetes. You just have to take care of yourself."

Despite the medical advances, however, the mental toll that HIV/AIDS takes on people remains strong, Barna said, particularly in less-urban parts of the country.

"Stigma is still huge, huge here," she said. "A lot of people still associate HIV and AIDS as being a gay disease, which is not true at all. A lot of my straight men struggle because they don't want to be seen as homosexual."

Also, many of the people Barna helps were already at risk for infection because of other conditions.

"The issues that originally put them at risk for HIV infection have not been addressed," she said. "They're still struggling with mental health or substance abuse. They may be taking their medications and their HIV is stable, but they have other problems."

In addition, HIV/AIDS can have a severe financial impact on people, particularly if their infection was detected late and they've been incapacitated by it.

"People go on disability because they are too ill to work, but there's less and less out there for them," Barna said. "The government funding is drying up. It's hard to find affordable housing. There's no such thing as public transit here in Charlottesville. It's financially a huge challenge."

People with HIV/AIDS also come under additional stress from alienation and lack of affection, she said.

"It's hard on their families. It's hard on them," Barna said. "A lot of people feel they can't share their status with anyone. I have a lot of people who avoid physical intimacy, period, because they are afraid of disclosure. They are isolated and alone."

All of this adds to the tough medical struggle that HIV/AIDS patients face in dealing with their chronic illness.

"They might be physically stable enough, but they are still struggling emotionally, financially and psychologically," she said.

More information

A companion article offers more on AIDS research.

SOURCE: Jorie Barna, care coordinator, AIDS/HIV Services Group, Charlottesville, Va.

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Clear vision despite a heavy head
2. How and why did 2011 Nobel winner Dan Shechtman persist despite rejection?
3. Uninsured patients in Mass. still mainly the working poor, despite states health reform
4. Lower socioeconomic status linked with heart disease despite improvements in other risk factor
5. Annual cervical cancer screening persists, despite recommended guidelines
6. Parkinsons Patients Still Prescribed Antipsychotics Despite Warning
7. Medical debt occurs despite insurance, UA study shows
8. Weight-Loss Surgery Can Be Effective Despite Depression
9. Distracted Driving May Be Rising Despite State Laws
10. ER visits persist for children with mental health problems despite regular outpatient care
11. Study: Most at-risk patients dont adhere to statin treatment, despite real benefits
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth (GPT), ... along with affiliate organizations, Alabama Partnership for Telehalth (ATP) and Florida Partnership for ... 2015. , Each of the three conferences share this year’s conference theme, ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Cheyenne, Wyoming (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... at the Gold’s Gym International Conference on August 26. Berry, who owns and operates ... exemplary standards for the fastest growing Gold’s Gyms in the United States. A brand ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... With Fall weather approaching and holiday travel season upon us, is giving ... Enter to win! , How to Enter:, 1. Like on Facebook , ... Follow us on Instagram @thebeautyplace , 4. Share Facebook Contest Image With Friends ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Bambeco, ... furnishings and décor, today announced it closed on a $20.5 million funding round ... be used to support the Company’s continued rapid growth and expansion, broaden the ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... National Women’s show this coming October in Toronto, an exhibition featuring the newest ... to choose from, Curly Hair Solutions® couldn’t be more excited to unveil their ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... 2015 Contrast media injectors ... the quality of images produced inside of the ... used in magnetic resonance imaging, medical X-ray, computed ... the radiologists to interpret the images accurately and ... body. Contrast media can be administered by three ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 Leadership of the National ... familiar face as Aspasia Shappet , CEO of MESVision ... from the NAVCP Board at its annual strategic planning meeting ... served as Chairwoman of the organization from May 2013 to ... who stepped down as a result of the increased demands ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 12, 2015 --> ... Market by Product (Hand-held, Table-top, Desktop), Technology (Volume Measurement, Flow ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... 2020, at a CAGR of 9.8% from 2015 to 2020. ... igures spread th rough 187 P ages ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: