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Depression: Treatment

If You Have HIV/AIDS

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Available treatments for depression are described above.

Before being treated for depression:

  • Talk with your doctor about being tested for low testosterone levels and/or hypo-or hyperthyroidism. Dr. Ross Slotten, a doctor in Chicago who treats a lot of patients with HIV/AIDS, suggests that both of these conditions be considered before being treated for depression. As quoted in the magazine, Positively Aware:  "Hypogonadism, or abnormally low testosterone levels, may cause fatigue, weight loss and depressed moods. For reasons that are unclear, impairment of testosterone production is common in HIV-infected men."
  • Consider reviewing your medications regime with your doctor or mental health care provider. A number of anti-HIV medications have so-called neuropsychiatric side effects. For example, efavirenz (Sustiva), AZT (Retrovir) and abacavir (Ziagen) can produce extreme fatigue, loss of energy, and depression. Stopping the medication generally resolves the problem if the symptoms are due to the drug.
  • Other, non-HIV medications which are often taken by people with HIV can also depress mood or induce depression like complaints.

For more information about depression and HIV,  see the National Institute of Mental Health's write up by clicking here offsite link.

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