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Characteristics of Long-Term Survivors

June 1996

Research by Dr. George Solomon, a pioneer in the field of psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA, has investigated how the mind and emotions impact on the immune system. Both Dr. Solomon and Dr. Lydia Temoshok at the University of California at San Francisco have identified these characteristics among long-term survivors of HIV.

  • They are realistic and accept their diagnosis but do not take it as a death sentence.

  • They have a fighting spirit and refuse to be helpless/hopeless.

  • They have changed lifestyles.

  • They are assertive and have the ability to get out of stressful and unproductive situation.

  • They are tuned in to their own psychological and physical needs, and they take care of them.

  • They are able to talk openly about their illness.

  • They have a sense of personal responsibility for their health, and they look at the treating physician as a collaborator.

  • They are altruistically involved with other persons with HIV.

Copyright (c) 1996 Ann Webster, Ph.D., Director, Mind/Body Program for HIV+/AIDS, offered by Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine of Massachusetts General Hospital, 151 Merrimac Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02114. For further information, please call (617) 643-6090. Visit our website at

This article was provided by Mind/Body Medical Institute.
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