World Aids Day: How HIV/AIDS affects one's mental health

World Aids Day: How HIV/AIDS affects one's mental health

As the world commemorates World Aids Day, the Department of Health has shared how HIV/AIDS can affect one's mental health. 

Pills on HIV AIDS paper
Pills on HIV AIDS paper/ iStock

The world commemorates World Aids Day on 1 December. 

According to UNAIDS, 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2022. 

AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus, reports

READ: Phaahla to lead SA AIDS conference in Durban 

A weakened immune system can affect one's mental health. 

According to a report by the Department of Health, 'People with HIV have a higher chance of developing mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders.'

One of the common mental health challenges that can affect people living with HIV is depression, reports National Institute of Mental Health.  

'Substance use disorders, which are problematic patterns of using alcohol or another substance, such as crack cocaine, methamphetamine ("meth"), amyl nitrite ("poppers"), prescription opioids, and heroin, are closely associated with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases,' states DOH.  

READ: UN says 'end of AIDS' still possible by 2030

The good thing is that mental health disorders can be treated. 

Whether through taking medication prescribed by a health practitioner or psychotherapy, there are several ways mental health conditions can be treated. 

Speak to your healthcare provider to find the best way to help navigate your mental health while dealing with HIV/AIDS. 

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Image courtesy of iStock/ @Gam1983

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