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Emotional wellbeing

Particular events such as receiving an HIV diagnosis, disclosing that diagnosis, bereavement, the breakdown of a relationship, financial worries or work problems, or dealing with starting HIV treatment or its side-effects, can result in feelings of deep unhappiness and emotional distress. This can include feeling emotions such as anger, guilt, fear, sadness and loneliness – which are difficult to manage and may interfere with your ability to get on with daily life.

Support from family and friends can be very helpful at these times, as can support such as that provided by helplines, peer support and counselling. (See Where to go for emotional and mental health advice and support.) These services offer you the chance to talk through issues, find sources of practical help and receive emotional support. Many HIV clinics have specialist mental health teams and some HIV support agencies can offer short courses of counselling. Or you may be referred to more specialist services if necessary.

If you have a GP, they will be able to make an assessment of your mental health, can prescribe medication (such as antidepressants) and arrange referrals to other services, such as counselling or community-based mental health services, with either the NHS or a voluntary organisation. You can find out more about services offered by GPs in NAM’s patient information booklet HIV, GPs & other primary care.

Some people also find that complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or massage, can relieve some of the symptoms of emotional distress.

HIV, mental health & emotional wellbeing

Published December 2014

Last reviewed December 2014

Next review December 2017

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.