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worried about HIV mom with mental illness

Mar 5, 2001

My mother had contracted the AIDS virus from an ex-boyfriend about 3 or 4 years ago. She also was born with scitzofrinia ( im sure i didn't spell that right). She has been in and out of hospitals all her life and just recently been staying in a hospital out of town. I don't get to see her that much and i am worried about her. i need to know will the AIDS virus move faster because of her bad nerves and mental illness

Response from Mr. Shernoff

There are not any indications in the scientific literature that I know about that specifically links HIV and mental illness. The only direct link between your mom's mental illness and possible progression of HIV illness is in regard to her ability to take the various medications that she will need to take exactly as prescribed. HIV antiviral medications are among the most unforgiving of any oral medication. They must be taken on a very specific schedule that is connected to either eating or not eating for a specific period of time. While she is hospitalized I assume that the nursing staff will see to the proper administration of all of her medications. But if she is discharged then her inability to take the medications on a precise and regular dosing schedule could allow the virus to mutate into a drug resistent strain or contribute to the illness progressing more rapidly. Michael Shernoff, MSW

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