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helping a friend who doesn't take his meds
Sep 14, 2010

I am a straight female with who has a very close (gay male) friend who doesn't take his medication for his HIV. As a result, he sleeps all day and he has to stuggle out of bed just to work(he works at home). His partner works out of state and doesn't return for several months at a time, but I have noticed that when my friend is dealing with his partner being absent for long periods of time, he refuses to take his medications. I have also noticed my friend become more easily frustrated and angry while not on his medications. Is there any thing I can do to support my friend while he is dealing with this depression and fatigue short of nagging him to take his meds? Some times he doesn't care if he lives or dies.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Nagging probably won't help if your friend is clinically depressed. Perhaps having a frank discussion with both your friend and his partner explaining your concern and encouraging your friend to seek help from his HIV specialist physician as well as a mental health practitioner (psychologist or psychiatrist) to address his depression and his non-adherence to his medical regimen should be considered. There is a chance your friend's HIV specialist and perhaps even his partner are not aware of his lack of adherence to his mediation regimen, as well as his fatigue, increasing frustration/anger and depression. By enlisting the help of your friend's partner and his HIV specialist, you'll have a better chance of encouraging him to comply. Depression certainly seems to be playing a central role. Be the friend, not the nag.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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