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HIV as the Great Magnifier of Maladies: Challenges for Prevention and Compassionate Care

  • Mary Ann Adler Cohen
  • César A. Alfonso
  • Mohammad Tavakkoli
  • Getrude Makurumidze
Chapter

Abstract

Many persons in the world do not believe that there is still a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic and that epidemics of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), HIV stigma, and AIDSism still exist. However, throughout the world there is evidence of an HIV pandemic: 36.9 million persons are living with HIV despite the fact that HIV and AIDS are entirely preventable. Although HIV is easy to diagnose with rapid HIV testing, 19 million or 54% of persons with HIV are unaware that they are infected. Once diagnosed, persons who were previously unaware of the HIV infection can be referred for medical care and treatment with antiretroviral medication that will enable persons with HIV to live relatively healthy lives. Psychiatric factors play an important role in the transmission of HIV. Psychiatric illnesses are vectors of HIV, and psychiatrists can prevent transmission and decrease suffering, morbidity, and mortality in persons with HIV. If lupus, multiple sclerosis, malaria, Lyme disease, and syphilis can be thought of as “The Great Masqueraders of Maladies” because many of their symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses, HIV/AIDS is “The Great Magnifier of Maladies” of both illness and aspects of health care. HIV magnifies disparities, stigma, and discrimination in health care and leads to both transmission and lack of access to care. An integrated approach to medical and mental health is needed to prevent transmission of HIV and improve care for persons affected by and infected with HIV.

Keywords

HIV AIDS AIDSism Stigma Psychiatric factors “The Great Magnifier of Maladies” 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann Adler Cohen
    • 1
  • César A. Alfonso
    • 2
  • Mohammad Tavakkoli
    • 3
  • Getrude Makurumidze
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.New York Medical College, Westchester Medical Center Advanced Physician ServicesValhallaUSA
  4. 4.University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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