The loss of a loved one is a potent and frequent life stressor for those infected with HIV and those at risk for infection. Early in the epidemic, bereavement in homosexual men was associated with increased distress in a dose-response relationship with the number of losses. More recent research suggests that this is not the case, though a relationship with increased grief level and with perceived self-threat is still recognized. A change in the form of bereavement response to a reaction resembling chronic, post-traumatic distress is also possible. Future research wing a stressor-support-coping model is advocated to investigate this possibility. Studies on the effect of bereavement should be conducted with other HIV infected and at-risk groups. Brief, supportive, group psychotherapy for recent loss and total loss burden due to HIV/AIDS is advocated to prevent associated psychological morbidity. The effects of such interventions on immune measures and the clinical progression of HIV disease also merits investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health