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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – People Living With #HIV/AIDS Have A Significantly Higher Risk Of #Suicide

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Penn State College of Medicine researchers found that people living with #HIV and #AIDS are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and die from #suicide than members of the general population.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

HERSHEY, Pa.  — A new study by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine indicates that people living with human immunodeficiency #virus (#HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (#AIDS) — approximately 38 million worldwide — are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and die from #suicide than members of the general population. The researchers said that despite significant medical advancements related to #HIV treatment and #patients’ quality of life, risk of #suicide in these #patients is high and #healthcareproviders should prioritize #mentalhealth screenings in this population. 

According to the #WorldHealthOrganization, roughly 800,000 people worldwide die from #suicide annually. Among members of the general population who have suicidal thoughts, one out of three will attempt #suicide. Out of 286 #suicide attempts, one will result in death. Results from a College of Medicine study suggest that for every two people living with #HIV/AIDS who have suicidal thoughts, one person will attempt #suicide. Among this population, out of 13 #suicide attempts, one will result in death.

Analyzing data from more than 185,000 #adults living with #HIV/AIDS worldwide, the researchers examined risk factors and incidences of attempted and completed suicides among this population. They found that not only is #suicidalideation higher, but people living with #HIV/AIDS were 100 times more likely to die by #suicide compared to the general population.

“There is an urgent need to prioritize #mentalhealth screening and care into all #HIV testing and treatment settings,” said Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, researcher and an epidemiology doctoral student. “#Suicide risk should be assessed in all #HIV #patients, especially in those who are newly-diagnosed and those with advanced disease.”

According to the findings, people living with #HIV/AIDS in North America are 50 times more likely to commit #suicide compared to those living in Europe. Similarly, North America, South America and Australia have the highest rates of #suicide attempts in people living with #HIV/AIDS. The researchers also found that the risk of #suicide was high for both newly diagnosed individuals and those whose illness progressed to #AIDS.

The researchers noted that several possible factors may contribute to the increased risk of #suicide among people living with #HIV/AIDS, including advanced disease, neurological changes and societal stigmas. On the other hand, data from the study showed that #patients being treated with antiretroviral therapy were less likely to commit #suicide. The researchers said the study reveals the importance of #mentalhealth screenings and interventions for people living with #HIV/AIDS.

Matt Pelton, Matthew Ciarletta, Holly Wisnousky, Nicholas Lazzara, Monica Manglani, Djibril Ba, Vernon Chinchillli and Anna Ssentongo of Penn State College of Medicine and Ping Du of Takeda Pharmaceuticals also contributed to this research. The researchers declare no conflict of interest.

Paddy Ssentongo was supported by a U.S. National Institutes of Health Director’s Transformative Award (award number 1R01AI145057). 

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