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Jan 25, 2006

Dr. Horwath, It has been 6 months since I found out my HIV status and it seems that it is only recently (the last 3 or 4 weeks) that I have felt down. I want to just curl up in a ball sometimes, but have not let myself do that. I make myself go to the gym, eat right and go out with friends, but the feelings of depression seem to be getting worse. I was wondering if these feelings will pass as I get a better hold on my emotions, or might they persist. I fear that these feeling will not stop and my life will be just a day to day numbing existance. Do you think these feelings will go away, or is it common for feeling of depression to stay.

Response from Dr. Horwath

It is not unusual to have brief periods of feeling down for a few days. However, if you have a persistently depressed mood (for 3 or 4 weeks), then it is not just a reaction to your HIV status. It can be a sign of a more serious depression. This is especially true if you are also experiencing feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and excessive guilt, accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety or thoughts about suicide. If this is the case, then you should consult a psychiatrist or psychologist for an evaluation. If you don't know how to find a mental health professional, see if your HIV physician's office can provide a referral.

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