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HIV+ and stressed out
Oct 9, 2011

How dangerous is stress when you are HIV positive? I have been going through so much lately, feeling very frustrated and like giving up on everything. I just had lab work done a few weeks ago and everything was good. Could I be causing strain on my t-cells by being so depressed and stressed out? Thanks for any information that you can provide.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing about this important topic. Stress is physically damaging even to very healthy people. The hormones and other physiological processes that result from stress negatively impact the immune system. It is therefore extremely important for anyone who is HIV positive to manage their stress to the greatest extent possible.

There are many things you can do, including engaging your support system (including family, friends, a therapist, to name a few) and sharing your feelings. Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and consciously working on breathing, meditation, and relaxation can also have a positive impact on stress. You can find more information at this resource page at TheBody.

Please reach out and get some help for that stress. Depression can be effectively treated with therapy and/or antidepressants and with the help of some stress reduction techniques concerns that seem overwhelming today can be manageable tomorrow.

-David



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