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Locating Mental Health Professionals trained in HIV

Jan 17, 2003

I was diagnoised with HIV in October and have contacted local AIDS groups in two Ohio cities, as well as doctors trained in HIV treatment trying to located a Mental Health Professional familar with HIV. None of these have been able to help. Where do I turn to now for this information? I need to talk to someone soon or accept that I will never find someone that I can talk to.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I find it really strange that local AIDS groups that provide services to people living with HIV and AIDS do not have a list of qualified mental health professionals to refer you to. Similarly It is bizarre that you say that doctors working with people who have HIV also were unable to help you in this regard. This is literally the first time I have ever heard anyone make this complaint in all of my years of working with HIV and AIDS.

The only reason I can think of to explain the difficulty you are experiencing is that you must live in some isolated place and that there are not any mental health providers near to where you live. If that is the case, that is totally understandable.

Who is providing you with your primary HIV related health care? I hope that you are going to an HIV specialist. If this is the case, then he or she must have colleagues near to where they practice to whom they can refer you. I recognize that it may be a pain in the butt and highly inconvenient for you to have to travel to receive this service, but that may be your only option if you do not live in an urban center.

Unfortunately other than asking AIDS organizations and doctors who treat people with HIV and AIDS for referrals, and you have already gone that route, I can not think of any other resources for you to locate mental health professionals who do this work.

I am truly sorry not to be able to be helpful to you.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

post tramatic stress disorder
Bi-polar & HIV positive

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