Counseling is a key aspect in the treatment of patients infected with HIV and AIDS. Counseling has become an important part of healthcare today, and is vital because it helps in effective patient management.

Most patients affected with HIV or AIDS suffer from a host of mental issues such as depression and anxiety that can further complicate their health condition. HIV and AIDS counseling ensures that the proper moral support is offered to the patients as well as to those who are close to the HIV-infected person. Moreover, it also plays a crucial role in preventing any future propagation of HIV.

Counseling enables the infected patient to draw up a more open discussion with the therapist as it brings about more privacy. The importance of HIV and AIDS counseling lies in the fact that most patients are prone to severe psychological and psychosocial issues such as intense depression, social stigma, fear of rejection, etc., that may prevent them from acting normally. The free STD and HIV testing and counseling services offered at our health center provide an excellent way for patients to receive relief from many of the psychological issues related to the disease.

The counseling process for HIV and AIDS involves a qualified counselor who offers expert guidance on many of the key psychological and psychosocial issues that torment an affected individual. This will help the patients to cope with their health condition better and alter their perceptions related to the disease.

Types of Counseling for HIV and AIDS

Three types of counseling are most commonly used for treating HIV or AIDS infected patients – interpersonal counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. The type of counseling required is entirely dependent on the needs, background, and symptoms of the patient.

Interpersonal Counseling – Interpersonal counseling is the most commonly carried out therapy in patients affected with HIV or AIDS. This therapy mainly focuses on the personal relations and the social interactions of the patient. It also aids in determining the level of interpersonal skills of a patient, which helps in suggesting the appropriate solution for alleviating the problem.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This type of counseling is mostly focused on the changes in behavioral patterns of a patient. Numerous issues such as depression, anxiety, panic, eating disorders, etc., can be treated by undergoing this therapy.

Psychodynamic Therapy – Psychodynamic therapy is another crucial counseling given to HIV and AIDS patients. It seeks to understand the past of the patient to determine any links with their current actions and behavior.

The counseling treatment is mostly carried out by periodic visits to the health center for about eight to twenty visits. Yet sometimes, the treatment duration can extend for months or years depending on the severity of the mental condition of the patient. Additionally, the counseling sessions may also be carried out either individually or in a group.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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