Assessment of Emotional Problems faced by People Living with HIV/AIDS and to study the role of family support and role of a counsellor to manage the Emotional Problems.

Manjula A Rao, Dr. John Ramapuram, Dr. Suphala S Kotian


HIV/AIDS is one of the most alarming social challenges faced by the people in the universe.  It has been described as the “most devasting epidemic humanity has ever known”.  Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus that causes the infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). As on today the disease is fatal, but it is totally preventable.  AIDS is the end result of a viral infection, caused by a group of viruses known as Human Immunodeficiency viruses. UNDP 2010 reports that India had 2.39 million people living with HIV at the end of 2009.

The present study highlights the effect of emotional problems faced by the person with HIV and AIDS.  HIV infection has a major impact on the mental health of the person which has a chance of causing cognitive impairment, mood and anxiety disorders, and even psychotic manifestations1. Various psychological issues leading to manifestations among PLWHAs are acute-stress reactions, anxiety disorders, depression, mania, psychosis and Neuro-psychiatric manifestations of HIV associated neurological illness1.  

Testing for HIV is itself evokes a lot of anxiety.  It is very general that most of them take lot of time to muster up courage to undertake the test.  Not all will react in a positive way.  The first reaction is anger, depression and failure to cope up with life.  Suicidal thoughts will occur.  At this time there is a need for proper counselling.  Appropriate counselling or absence of any other social support can devastate an individual.  They experience lot of stress mentally as many emotional problems occur to them.  To cope up with these stressors there should be a need for social support, whom the PLHWHA could be able to tell them about the sero-status for moral, emotional and psychological support. 

 Results: Our study population included majority Males (52.2%) and rest are females (37.8%). Majority of them had Primary (58.6%) and secondary (37.8%) level of education. 99.1% are infected through sexual contact. 38.7% of respondents receive support from spouse, and secondary family members. 95.5% respondents are satisfied which they get support from family members. Most of our respondents (41.4%) always sometimes (55.9%) get financial support to their medication, only 2.7% will never get support. 94.6% of respondents feel they have someone to listen their feelings and thoughts. 41.4% respondents get reminder to take ART medication from their family members. 81.1% of the respondents felt that they can always participate in family function. 

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