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Hiv Aids And Mental Health Essay

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This assignment will analyse the impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in respect to mental health. Additionally, it will highlight the effects of health promotion messages related to HIV patients with mental health issues. This will be done through analysis and application of knowledge and understanding of the theories and current legislation and policies of health promotion and education when working with service users, carers and professionals. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout this assignment (NMC 2008). Cournos et al (2005) state that mental health is a crucial element of the global efforts to contain the spread of HIV infection and to treat those who are already infected or infected by the virus. People with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) are at bigger risk for an array of chronic viral infections, of which the most serious are the diseases associated with HIV and hepatitis C virus, (Naylor 2012). Therefore it is noted that a combination of the two can impair the rate of recovery, besides lack of focus on physical health compromises the idea of holistic care in mental health practices, (Nash, 2010). HIV is a retro virus that affects cells of the immune system destroying and impairing the normal cell functions and eventually causing AIDS, (WHO, 2013). AIDS was first reported in 1981 said to only affect men having sex with men even though there was evidence that HIV was around in 1950s it was only in 1983 that HIV virus was discovered to cause AIDS, (Cichocki, 2009). HIV is a virus that affects and destroys cells responsible for combating infections, leaving the body susceptible to disease it would normally be able to fit and with no treatment the immune system can be compromised and rare infections or cancers develop the individual is said to have AIDS, (Kwon and Walker, 2013). Similarly Gallant (2012) emphasises that, the difference between HIV and AIDS is that, HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. So AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection; he also states that it can be transmitted from person to person through sexual contact, blood exposure, childbirth and breast feeding. Stolley and Glass (2009) suggest that HIV is transmitted through four bodily fluids, blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. It is important to understand how HIV is contracted and transmitted as well as who is at risk in order to avoid spreading the virus and causing AIDS, (Catalan, 2002). WHO (2007) suggests that HIV disease progresses in four phases; initial phase is the incubation period which may last a few days or weeks. Acute infection is the second phase which a person may present with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, lymphadenopathy, malaise and fatigue that lasts about a month. The third stage is asymptomatic infections where symptoms are not present but there may be enlarged inguinal lymph nodes this can last a fortnight to two decades. Lastly is the symptomatic infection, a stage where an individual may experience mild symptoms with or without lymphadenopathy or even full blown AIDS, (WHO, 2007). It can only take 10-15 years for an infected person to develop AIDS however adherence to retroviral can slow down the disease progression, (Nguyen and Holodniy 2008). Disease progression is mainly monitored through makers of immunity that is the CD4 count or the viral load (Minnaar and Bodkin, 2013).HIV is diagnosed via a blood test, HIV test can be accessed through the General Practitioners’ practices, antenatal clinics, sexual health and reproductive services, local voluntary organisation or substance abuse services, (BHIVA, 2012). An infected person may be asymptomatic and will look healthy however, research has shown that People Living With HIV (PLWH)are often predisposed to depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic attacks, (Stolley and Glass 2009).Therefore it is noted that HIV is not only a physical problem but also a mental health problem. Catalan (2002) state that mental health problems in HIV occur in two stages, first when HIV is diagnosed, this is due to the distress of a positive result and secondly when the physical symptoms worsen. The frequency of drug abuse and addiction among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) is the largely evident linking mental illness and HIV transmission, (WHO, 2005). Additionally, HIV infection has been linked with a variety of mental health problems not just normal emotional reactions such as anger, but also psychiatri...

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