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Psychological Effects Of Hiv Discordant Results In A Couple

1682 words - 7 pages


International Institute For Capacity Development Trust

Diploma In HIV Counseling, Care And Prevention



Discuss the possible psychological effects of HIV and AIDS on a couple that has HIV discordant results

June 2011

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HIV discordant couples are those in which one of the couples has HIV negative and the other has HIV positive. Such couples definitely suffer from psychological effects which may range from mild to severe.

Psychological effects are those thoughts, feelings and emotions that affect the mental well being of the affected and infected ...view middle of the document...

From the psychological standpoint, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is focused around the area of interpersonal relationships. HIV is transmitted through the most intimate behaviors where gender inequity, violence against women, poverty, and oppression put women and adolescents at high risk of vulnerability than their male counterparts.

The partner infected with HIV generally views themselves as being defective. They may perceive changes in their physical bodies and self images therefore lowered self esteem. As a result of such changes, the behavior of those infected may change affecting interpersonal relationships. They may become aggressive and rude to their partners because they fell or imagine being victimized.

The first news of the illness is received with shock and incredulity and in some situations it is the confirmation of an infection that he or she had feared. Soon after the initial diagnosis, the husband but more often the women who have tested HIV positive may begin to have feelings of marginalization, alignment, rejection and blame. If she has the infection, she may fear sharing her situation with her partner for fear that she will be blamed as the transmitter of the virus. She fears being the object of physical and verbal abuse. He or she worries that someone will find out about the diagnosis and fears rejection of her family and marginalization from their community. If it the wife who is HIV positive, she may also worry about how she will obtain medical care and pay for the medicines if she doesn’t have enough money or medical insurance since most of the women in our community are dependants of their husbands.

Even when a woman has access to treatments, it is common to see her not attending to her health in order to tend to the needs of her family. In our communities there is a lack of support services designed specifically for the needs of infected women. Many women do not have access to health services and benefits, be it that the services do not exist, she cannot pay for them, or she cannot access them. If a woman does not make use locally available medical resources, this should not be confused with her resistance to be treated. It is important to keep in mind the complexity of the woman’s social and economic situation. The infected woman confronts many difficulties and complications to be able to keep medical appointments, one of which is to find someone to care for her children. If this is not possible, she has to find a way to bring them with her on public transportation and care for them during her visit in clinics or hospitals. For a woman who has severe symptoms, this is a grueling task, and she may prefer to receive medical services within the home. One of the most difficult decisions for a woman and her family is final wishes and funeral planning.

Because of such social and economic challenges, fear, grief, anger, anxiety and possibly depression and suicidal thoughts are common psychological...

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