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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Depression management and HIV treatment may be intertwined

Posted on 03-10-17 in Depression

Not every woman diagnosed with HIV is receiving the care she deserves. To make matters worse, underlying mental health afflictions such as depression hinder the impact of any treatment that they might receive. This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day being observed on March 10, it’s time to make a difference in the lives of those who continue to battle the virus.

Recently, while speaking at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) held in Seattle from Feb. 13-16, 2017, Dr. Pamela Collins of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) insisted that efforts should be undertaken to integrate mental health treatment with HIV treatment services, especially in countries, which lack funds to cover health care costs. Efficient management of depression and other mental health conditions could hold the key to maximize the success rate of HIV treatment initiatives, she said.

It is well known that conditions such as cancer, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), adversely affect the physical health and well-being of people struggling with HIV. Collins said that now, mental health ailments also feature in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, alongside NCDs. However, she stressed that while NCDs tend to affect people as they age, mental health problems continue to afflict the younger population comprising adolescents and young adults in their early 20s.

Latest research reveals that women and older people are more vulnerable to depression. Further, depression is widely prevalent in people grappling with dual diagnosis. For example, in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, depression affects roughly 8 percent of those living with HIV, though experts claim this could be higher in certain groups.

In light of the current situation, Collins believes that while mental disorders heighten an individual’s susceptibility to HIV infection, likewise, people may also develop depressive disorders while coping with a chronic health condition. She feels that screening and treating mental health problems should be a normative part of HIV management programs. However, there needs to be a consensus on who would own the delivery of such services. “It is imperative to involve patients, policymakers and health care providers in such service integration decisions,” she said.

Unfortunately, depression is not viewed as a chronic condition

Depression has its own way of deluding even the healthiest and happiest of people into believing that their lives are worthless and deplorable. The constant battle with mental afflictions saps their energy leaving them helpless and miserable most of the time. Activities, which once gave pleasure, seem completely taxing leading to problems in daily life functioning.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 16 million people aged 18 years or older — 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults — had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Although significant research on depression has led experts to shed light on the recurrent and chronic nature of such a condition, unfortunately, most general health practitioners tend not to treat depression in the same manner as other chronic physical health ailments such as diabetes and hypertension.

Sovereign Health can help

Depression must be nipped in the bud or else it can be immensely devastating. Do not let it grow to an extent where there is no scope for recovery. The Sovereign Health Group provides treatments for all kinds of mental health disorders as well as any underlying health condition.

Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers a variety of customized mental health treatment programs suited to treat a person holistically. Patients can opt for individual and group psychotherapy or alternative therapeutic activities to regain control of their lives.

Sadly, many people fail to recognize the symptoms of depression. Whether you are looking for depression treatment centers in California or at a place closer home, we have facilities in all major places in the U.S. Our residential depression treatment programs in California are among the best in the country. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-698-4295 or chat online to know about the causes of depression and most effective recovery programs to treat them at the earliest.