People living with HIV have a significantly higher risk of suicide: study

June 30, 2021 7:08 PM STI

Washington [US], June 30 (ANI): A new study by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine has indicated that people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are more likely have thoughts of suicide and die by suicide.
The results of the study were published in the journal ‘General Psychiatry’.
The researchers said that despite significant medical advancements in HIV treatment and patient quality of life, the risk of suicide in these patients is high and health care providers should prioritize mental health screenings in this. population.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 800,000 people around the world die by suicide each year. Among the general population who have thoughts of suicide, one in three will attempt suicide.
Out of 286 suicide attempts, one will result in death. The results of a College of Medicine study suggest that for every two people living with HIV / AIDS who have thoughts of suicide, one person will attempt suicide. Among this population, out of 13 suicide attempts, one will result in death.
By analyzing data from more than 185,000 adults living with HIV / AIDS around the world, the researchers examined the risk factors and incidence of suicide attempts and suicides in this population.
They found that not only are thoughts of suicide higher, but people living with HIV / AIDS were 100 times more likely to die from suicide compared to the general population.

“There is an urgent need to prioritize testing and mental health care in all HIV testing and treatment settings,” said Dr Paddy Ssentongo, researcher and doctoral candidate in epidemiology.
“The risk of suicide should be assessed in all patients with HIV, especially those who are newly diagnosed and those with advanced disease,” Ssentongo added.
According to the results, people living with HIV / AIDS in North America are 50 times more likely to commit suicide than those living in Europe.
Likewise, North America, South America and Australia have the highest rates of suicide attempts among people living with HIV / AIDS. The researchers also found that the risk of suicide was high for both those newly diagnosed and those whose disease progressed to AIDS.
The researchers noted that several possible factors may contribute to the increased risk of suicide in people living with HIV / AIDS, including advanced disease, neurological changes and societal stigma.
On the other hand, data from the study showed that patients on antiretroviral therapy were less likely to commit suicide.
The researchers said the study reveals the importance of screenings and mental health interventions for people living with HIV / AIDS. (ANI)

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