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Infect Chemother. 2014 Jun;46(2):77-83. English. Original Article.
Kittner JM , Brokamp F , Thomaidis T , Schmidt RE , Wiltink J , Galle PR , Jager B .
1st Medical Department University Medical Centre Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
Westpfalz-Klinikum, Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Hanover Medical School, Hanover, Germany.
Psychosmatics and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
Department of Psychosomatic and Psychotherapy, Hanover Medical School, Hanover, Germany.

BACKGROUND: It is unclear to which extent the rate of disclosure of the diagnosis "HIV" to the social environment and the nature of experienced responses are correlated with the current mental health status of HIV-infected patients living in Germany. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eighty consecutive patients of two German HIV outpatient clinics were enrolled. Patients performed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) in its German version. Disclosure behaviour and the experienced responses after disclosing as perceived by the participants were assessed using a questionnaire. In addition, patients were asked to state whether they felt guilty for the infection on a 1-4 point Likert scale. RESULTS: Pathological results on the anxiety scale were reached by 40% of male and 73% of female patients, and on the depression scale by 30% of male and 47% of female patients, thus significantly exceeding recently assessed values in the German general population, except for depression in males. None of the HADS scale results was interrelated either with the rate of disclosure or the experienced responses. 36% of patients reported to feel guilty for the infection, which was positively correlated with results from the HADS. Limitation: The time since the single disclosure events was not assessed, and the subgroup of women was comparably small. CONCLUSIONS: Despite substantial improvement in treatment, HIV-infected patients in Germany still suffer from an elevated level of anxiety and, in part, depression. However, mental health status was neither related with disclosure behaviour nor with experienced responses. We hypothesize that internal beliefs may play a more important role.

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