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American Psychiatric Association Plans First Comprehensive Guidelines For HIV/AIDS Treatment

10 years through its Commission on AIDS, part of the impetus for these guidelines is the realization that few of us have been untouched by HIV/AIDS. Psychiatrists are in a unique role to counsel patients about sexual behaviors and drug use behaviors and can play a significant role in both primary and secondary prevention. Psychiatrists also are in the very best position to treat HIV-related neuropsychiatric complications such as depression, anxiety and dementia.

"Hopefully, the practice guidelines will further empower psychiatrists to take an even more active role in treating HIV-positive patients and in incorporating aspects of HIV risk behaviors into their assessments and treatment plans, says Dr. McDaniel."

He believes the new recommendations will undoubtedly improve the overall care of persons with HIV by focusing on access to care, treatment adherence, education, prevention and direct mental health services. As HIV-positive individuals live longer lives, the likelihood of a general psychiatrist working with an HIV-positive person is much higher than in the past, he points out.

At the Emory/Grady Ponce de Leon Center, mental health is a basic component of comprehensive patient care. "We try to diminish obstacles such as referring patients outside the system and we try to treat them here as a whole person -- body and mind. We work with patients covering the entire spectrum, including those who have difficult reactions to finding out they are HIV positive, to those struggling with living with HIV infection, to those at the end of life with numerous neuropsychiatric complications.


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Contact: Sarah Goodwin
sgoodwi@emory.edu
404-727-3366
Emory University Health Sciences Center
18-May-1999


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