Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Welcome to the Mental Health Forum


Jim Allen:
Welcome to the Mental Health Forum!

This is the forum where you can discuss aspects of the many different issues relating to mental health and HIV. It's a place to give and receive support and where members can share their tips on what has worked for them to maintain their mental health, whether through therapy, medications, meditation, exercise or a combination of these and other methods. This is a place to talk about being happy and comfortable in your own skin, along with the issues that contribute to feelings of sadness, anger and frustration.  Also, those who have specific conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder, can discuss their treatment and how it impacts on HIV.

Please remember this forum is intended to be used for support and a place to exchange ideas. It is not therapy and it is not intended to replace doing therapy with a qualified professional.

For further information on the POZ forums, including posting guidelines, please visit the Welcome Thread found in the Living with HIV forum.

As its tends to be a common topic we have added below some basic information and links with regards to depression.

Here you will find an overview of some Mental health topics and an introduction to how the mind works:

How the Mind Works
Depressive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety Disorder
Helping a Family Member or Friend
Helping Someone in Crisis


This is serious and it can also cause physical complains! Such as Aches and pain, chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, sleep disturbances, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes. Also depression has also been shown to be associated with poorer HIV treatment outcomes due to missed clinic appointments, adherence concerns and a detectable viral load etc etc 

Depression is a cluster of emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms characterized by sadness, low self-esteem, loss of pleasure and, sometimes, difficulty functioning. We all experience occasional periods of feeling down. If these problems persist over time, cause real suffering and interfere with the business and pleasure of daily life, you may have a clinical depression.

Depression affects more than 15 million U.S. adults and is one of America’s costliest illnesses. If you think you may be depressed, it’s best to talk to your doctor and a screening tool is available on the Screening for Mental Health website at

If you or someone you love is suicidal, seek help immediately or go to your local emergency room.

Global list - Suicide helplines provide help to those in need. Contact a helpline if you need support yourself or need help supporting a friend.

Worldwide support - Befrienders - -

Here you will find an introduction of HIV and depression including signs and an possible treatments:

What is the psychiatric definition of depression?
Criteria for Major Depression
What is dysthymia?
When should I get help with depression?
Can other medical problems or medications cause symptoms of depression?
What are the possible treatments for depression?
What medications are used to treat depression?

What else may help with depression?

•   Exercise.

Clinical experience and some studies show that exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, may help lessen depression. If you feel depressed, resuming or increasing physical activity is a simple, healthy, effective way to reduce symptoms for many people.

Given that depressed people often suffer from fatigue, exercise may feel nearly impossible. The point, however, is not to try and exceed what you are capable of, but to push yourself at least a little bit to engage in some physical activity every day. This can start with something as simple as taking a walk around the block.

HIV and Exercise

•   Adequate sleep.

Experts recommend maintaining good sleep hygiene. This includes trying to go to bed at the same time every day, using your bedroom only for sleeping whenever possible, and not drinking caffeinated beverages too late in the day.

•   Healthy diet.
Remember that lots of sugar can initially be quite stimulating, but then followed by a physical and emotional “crash.” If you have no appetite, try eating small meals and snacks throughout the day rather than one or two big meals.

HIV and nutrition:

•   Avoid isolation.

Spend time with friends and in social settings, rather than remaining isolated. Even if regular social contact feels excessively difficult, it can be psychologically important to at least leave your house regularly.

•   Find support.

Studies have found that HIV-positive people who have little social support, especially from other people living with the disease, are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. Many people find seeking out an AIDS service organization for referrals to peer support groups for people with HIV to be helpful.

Finally please all do remember to take care of your mental health, with as much  care as you would for your physical health.

Best POZ Moderators

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