Even with improved care, the risk of suicide for people living with HIV is still high

Even with improved care, the risk of suicide for people living with HIV is still high


Two new studies offer slightly different perspectives on the experience of Americans living with HIV today. On the one hand, they can now live almost as long as their peers without the virus. On the other hand, they still have a higher risk of suicide.

Researchers say that the lack of access to medicines, the late stage of the disease, and the stigma surrounding HIV positivity can all cause HIV-infected people to attempt suicide.

Antiretroviral drugs

Human immunodeficiency virus Or HIV-spread through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions-attacks the body’s immune system and limits the body’s ability to fight infection. It will eventually lead to AIDS, a life-threatening disease in which the immune system is almost completely destroyed.

Although there is no cure for HIV, antiretroviral therapy can control the virus. Antiretroviral therapy is a group of drugs that slow down the progress of HIV/AIDS.

A new study published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine analyzed the mortality rate of HIV/AIDS in the United States from 1999 to 2017, and found that the early mortality rate between people living with HIV and other parts of the United States was different from 1999 to 2004. 11% dropped to 2.7% between 2011 and 2017.

They said that the largest decline in early mortality has occurred after 2011. Compared with their peers who are not infected with HIV, young people aged 18 to 34 who just started receiving HIV care will have an early mortality rate of only 1% higher in the next five years.

Jesse Edwards, a research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel, said: “It is incredibly bad news to be diagnosed with AIDS in the early stages of the AIDS pandemic. The prognosis for survival is very poor, which is not the case today. “Hill, tell U.S. News and World Report.

“People who are diagnosed with HIV in this day and age can connect with care and receive effective treatment, and be confident that their survival prospects are actually very good.”

Today’s antiretroviral drugs can reduce the level of the virus in the blood to an almost undetectable level. However, Edwards and her colleagues pointed out that their study was only for patients receiving treatment and excluded HIV-infected people who did not know the latest medications or were unable to obtain the latest medications. Because people living with HIV live longer, little is known about possible age-related complications. Today, half of Americans living with HIV are over 50 years old.

Still has a high risk of suicide

These concerns may help explain the results of another study by the researchers Pennsylvania State Medical CollegeThey studied HIV and AIDS patients worldwide and found that despite medical advances and improved quality of life, they are more likely than the general population to have suicidal thoughts and die by suicide.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 185,000 adults worldwide and found that compared with the general population, people living with HIV/AIDS are 100 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population.

Basically, one in two HIV/AIDS infected people who have suicidal thoughts will attempt suicide. Every 13 suicide attempts will result in death.

According to data from the World Health Organization, this is significantly different from the statistics of the general population. One out of three people without HIV/AIDS will attempt suicide, and out of 286 attempts, one will result in death.

There is an urgent need to prioritize mental health screening and care in all HIV testing and treatment settings,Penn State University researcher and PhD student in epidemiology, Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, said in a statement.

Suicide risk assessments should be conducted for all HIV patients, especially newly diagnosed patients and patients with advanced disease.

Ssentongo and his colleagues found that people living with HIV/AIDS in North America are 50 times more likely to commit suicide than people living in Europe. In general, people living with HIV/AIDS in North America, South America and Australia have the highest rates of suicide attempts. This applies to those newly diagnosed and those in an advanced disease state.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University pointed to similar concerns that Edwards and her team made in their research. They report that advanced disease, neurological changes, and social stigma may be factors that increase the risk of suicide. They also found that those who received antiretroviral drugs were less likely to commit suicide.

Researchers emphasize the need for mental health screening and intervention for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Barriers to HIV care

According to Philadelphia statistics, in Philadelphia, more than 18,000 people are infected with HIV Ministry of Public Health. Approximately 2,000 Philadelphians were infected with HIV but did not realize it.

In 2019, the highest rates of newly diagnosed HIV in Philadelphia were blacks (44.2 per 100,000) and Hispanics (41.7 per 100,000).

Although the country and Local push In order to increase access to antiretroviral drugs, there are still gaps in access to treatment. Stigma, poverty, drug abuse and lack of access to health care are all causes of this inequality. AIDS Law and Policy Center. Incarcerated people living with HIV also lack resources.

If you are infected with HIV/AIDS in the Philadelphia area and are not sure about the resources available, please visit healthmindsphilly.org or Battle of Philadelphia For help.

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