HIV+ men are twice as likely to commit suicide

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Hiv- Aids

The new research shows that HIV+ men are twice as likely to die of suicide as the members of general population. The shocking stat comes from a fifteen-year study of almost 90,000 people diagnosed with HIV in England and Wales, presented by Sara Croxford of Public Health England at this week’s British HIV Association conference. And according to the figures, while AIDS-defining illnesses accounted for 58% of deaths among people living with HIV, the rate of suicides in this group, at 2%, was twice that seen in the general population. As for women, the difference is almost unnoticeable. Suicide is most likely to occur in the first year following diagnosis, with four in ten suicides occurred during this time. Recently diagnosed men’s suicide rate is five times that of the general population. The study monitored men’s health over a 15 year period, from 1997 to 2012, but no evidence was recorded of a fall in suicides over the study period. The figures do not depend on the level of care and treatment. While the researchers do not have data on social or behavioural factors that might explain the findings, the particularly high rate of suicide in the first year of an HIV diagnosis suggest that stigma, difficulties adapting to the diagnosis, insufficient mental health provision and a lack of support services contribute to suicide.

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