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HAART and former depression

Jan 2, 2004

I used to take antidepressive meds (mainly xanax and zoloft)for 3 years and in February I had the worst crisis ever. Since February I have been recovering and I felt I was healthy again. Unfortunately I've discovered all of a sudden I am HIV positive with AIDS. What an appalling surprise. I should start with combivir and kaletra tomorrow, but I am afraid my depression is winning me again. My quality of life has been so low in my life (I am 32) and I think I have been unreasonably unlucky. Please, give me advice on how to be consistant with the therapy in spite of possible collateral effects and how to improve my existence if it's possible and try to be "normal". Do you have any tricks on that? What about food, psychotherapy, cigarettes, vitamins, homeopathic meds? I fear I will not be able to follow the HAART. What can I do? Do you think my depressive status influenced the course from HIV to AIDS? Thank you so much for your advice.

Response from Dr. Horwath

Being consistent with HAART requires an understanding of how it works. It is important to take all of the doses. Inconsistent adherence to the regimen, in many cases, is worse than taking no antiretrovirals at all.

Eatting a balanced, nutritionally sound diet, resting, and doing some moderate exercise can all be beneficial to your health and immune status.

Several studies have shown that depression has an adverse effect on medication adherence. Getting treatment for depression, therefore, will help you to adhere to your regimen. I don't know if your depression contributed in any way to developing AIDS, but it can influence the course of your illness, mostly by affecting treatment adherence.

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