Monday, January 23, 2012

They got PAID for this?...

Depression is more common among women living with HIV, compared with men living with HIV, according to an international study reported at the 2nd International Workshop on HIV and Women, held January 9 and 10 in Bethesda, Maryland, and highlighted by the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP).

According to NATAP’s report of the investigator’s presentation, a significantly higher proportion of women met criteria for depression: 18 percent versus 14 percent, respectively. This difference was statistically significant, meaning that it was too great to have occurred by chance. Additionally, rates of depression were no different among women who were receiving ARV therapy, compared with those who were not. Of note, however, the rate of depression was significantly higher among HIV-positive women not yet receiving ARV therapy compared with HIV-positive men not yet on treatment (21 percent versus 11 percent).

The CRANIum investigators believe their findings “support a strategy of regular screening for, and clinical management of, anxiety and depression for all female HIV-infected patients,” NATAP reports.

I guess I found the above report to be silly. I wonder how much it cost to do this study. This is something I could have told them for free. The reasons for this are obvious… considering the perception of heterosexual society (most HIV positive women are indeed heterosexual) that HIV is most often contracted by sexually promiscuous women or drug addicted women, it would be no shock to think that within their own social circle, women would find more reasons to be depressed than their gay male counterparts.

HIV has been prevalent in the gay culture for three decades. Even though positive gay men may feel ostracized by their own social circle at times, women living with HIV have the fewest resources for support. We also have the added feeling that there is no one out there for us. The largest group of HIV positive men are gay… or bisexual. That makes the dating pool rather small and I can’t speak for all women but that makes me depressed at times.

Additionally, women who have yet to start ARV therapy may have added anxiety about their health.

The trick is to fight the depression every day. Be your own life-partner. Take yourself out to dinner. Take yourself to a concert or movie. Laugh as hard as you can when you laugh and when you cry… do it loudly and then realize you ARE your own best friend.

Then you’ll never feel alone.
Love to you,

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