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New research by leading HIV support agency Positively UK, in partnership with Janssen, has provided fresh insights into the links between HIV and poor mental wellbeing. The results, launched at Positively UK's Conference of People Living With HIV and published in the States of Mind Report, highlight the burden of poor mental health in the HIV community. The report explores the impact of mental health issues on the lives of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and calls for more to be done to reduce the burden.
Positively UK commissioned research that surveyed the experiences and views of almost 200 PLWHIV. Results showed that:
"Despite the support available, mental health problems, and depression in particular, are hugely important issues for people living with HIV," said Allan Anderson, Chief Executive of Positively UK. "The findings of the States of Mind report highlight that more needs to be done to support people and ensure they are offered holistic care. I urge people with HIV, healthcare professionals and support workers to read the report and work together to improve mental wellbeing in the HIV community."
The report also found that: 
Based on the survey findings, which reflected a representative sample of the HIV community, the report calls for more to be done to support the mental health of PLWHIV. The States of Mind Report makes a number of recommendations:
Professor Jane Anderson, Director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, and Consultant Physician at Homerton University Hospital in London, commented: "This report emphasises the importance of ensuring the clinical community are fully aware of the impact that HIV can have on mental and emotional wellbeing. The multidisciplinary clinical team in HIV medicine is uniquely placed to address the totality of the health and wellbeing needs of people who use our clinics. We must seek ways to care for people effectively in terms of the physical and mental aspects of HIV."
Positively UK has received support from Janssen to conduct the research. Janssen has a heritage of developing innovative HIV treatments and is committed to the future fight against HIV and providing information and support for people with HIV and those working with them.
The full States of Mind Report can be accessed at the following link: http://www.positivelyUK.org/policy/statesofmind.
HIV in the UK
It is estimated that 100,000 people will be living with HIV in the UK in 2013 and approximately 6,000 new diagnoses are confirmed each year. Thanks to treatment advances over the past three decades, HIV is no longer considered a fatal illness in developed countries. People with HIV are more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population, with depression thought to be around twice as common in people with HIV.
About the report
The States of Mind Report is based on outputs from a survey of people with HIV. In total, 192 people completed the survey, of whom 171 responded online and 21 via paper surveys. The survey opened on Monday 8th April 2013 and closed on Monday 15th July 2013. Participants were primarily recruited through a number of HIV support agencies and recruitment also occurred in some groups through informal local meetings and through word of mouth.
 Positively UK mental wellbeing in HIV questionnaire. Data on file
 Health Protection Agency. HIV in the United Kingdom: 2012 Report. Available from: http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317137200016 (last accessed September 2013)
 The Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration. 2008. Life expectancy of individuals on combination antiretroviral therapy in high-income countries: a collaborative analysis of 14 cohort studies. The Lancet. 372: 293-299
 NAM aidsmap. Mental health. 2012. Available from: http://www.aidsmap.com/Mental-health/page/1044702/ (last accessed September 2013)
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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9 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266470>
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