Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Individuals infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) endure a chronic disease which requires behaviour changes and psychosocial adaptation (see ‘Coping with chronic illness’). Health psychologists are in a position to make a unique contribution to the care of HIV-infected persons by designing and implementing behavioural interventions capable of facilitating these adjustments. Here we review many of the challenges facing HIV-infected persons as well as highlight potential targets for behavioural interventions. A revolution with HAART Due to the substantial reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with the advent of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART), HIV infection is now commonly conceptualized as a chronic illness (Bangsberg et al., 2001). By directly suppressing HIV replication, HAART-treated individuals may attenuate T-helper (CD4+) cell decline and delay the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). However, not all HIV-infected patients treated with HAART display adequate viral suppression which may be due in large part to suboptimal adherence as well as the emergence of drug-resistant strains of the virus (Bangsberg et al., 2001; Tamalet et al., 2003). Questions also remain regarding the appropriate time to initiate HAART in HIV-infected patients due to variability in the extent immune reconstitution, increased incidence of opportunistic infections in the months following initiation and reports of profound drug-related toxicities (Yeni et al., 2002). As a result, the current state of medical treatment for HIV infection dictates that healthcare providers take into account the dynamic interplay among contextual, patient-related and treatment-related factors in order to deliver the best possible patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780511543579, 9780511543579
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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