Is depression an inevitable part of life with HIV?

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Terrence Higgins Trust National ‘Living well with HIV’ Services are currently running a national media campaign aimed at dispelling the belief that ‘being depressed’ is an inevitable part of life with HIV. Doctors and clinicians at one London clinic estimate that over 30% of their patients with HIV experience depression or depressive attacks at some point. Whilst some HIV drugs can cause depression as a side effect, there are many other reasons why people with HIV experience depression.

The ability to make decisions that work for yourself, and being able to form and maintain successful relationships, can be affected by depression.

Successful adherence to anti-HIV drugs is much harder to achieve for people who lack motivation, a typical symptom of mild depression. How someone feels about himself or herself and their life with HIV is central to effective anti HIV treatment.

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