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A “Sense of Punishment” Can Affect Patients’ Therapy Adherence

A “Sense of Punishment” Can Affect Patients’ Therapy Adherence


One reason some HIV-positive people have difficulty sticking to their anti-HIV drug regimens is that they have a negative attitude about their disease, including thinking that their infection is 'punishment' for their behavior, according to a study in the December edition of the journal Psychosomatics. The Massachusetts General Hospital'led study assessed 84 HIV-positive adults' coping ability, beliefs about how HIV affects their drug adherence, and perceptions of their social support structures. The study found that believing HIV is a punishment was one of several variables related to depression and low self-esteem, which in turn were linked with a patient's ability to stick to a treatment regimen. The findings 'highlight the need for research addressing the effects of treatment for psychosocial issues such as depression, coping, and punishment beliefs about HIV on self-care and, in turn, eventual medical outcome,' the researchers concluded.

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