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Past research has shown that HIV-positive women are at much greater risk for depression than men. And according to a new study published in January in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, untreated depression can have a grave effect on the overall health of HIVers. A study of 3,400 HIVers found that depressed patients were less likely to adhere to their medication regimens and had worse health outcomes as a result. When these patients were treated with antidepressants, their health was as good as those without depression. Precious Jackson, a longtime HIV treatment advocate in Los Angeles, stresses that it is crucial for women suffering from depression to seek care. 'When I worked at Women Alive, women who sought out mental health services by receiving one-on-one therapies--they got better,' she says. 'And those that did not seek out therapy didn't get better.' She encourages women of color in particular to get past the stigma they might feel about seeing a mental health professional. 'I think in the African-American community--and I'm sure in the Latino community--when you say, 'Go see a therapist,' the therapist gets a bad rap [because people don't understand what they do and how they can help],' she says. 'It's not that you're crazy. It's just being able to sort out those different issues that are going on.'

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