Post-traumatic stress disorder


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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


What Is It?

In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), distressing symptoms occur after one or more frightening incidents. For the most part, a person with this disorder must have experienced the event himself or herself or witnessed the event in person. The person may also have learned about violence from a close loved one. The event must have involved serious physical injury or the threat of serious injury or death.

Exposure to violence through media (news reports or electronic images) is usually not considered a traumatic incident for this diagnosis unless it is part of a person's work (for example, police officers or first responders to a violent event).

Some examples of traumas include:

  • Military combat (PTSD was first diagnosed in soldiers and was known as shell shock or war neurosis)
  • Serious motor vehicle accidents, plane crashes and boating accidents
  • Industrial accidents
  • Natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions)
  • Robberies, muggings, and shootings
  • Rape, incest, and child abuse
  • Hostage-taking and kidnappings
  • Political torture
  • Imprisonment in a concentration camp
  • Refugee status

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone experiences a traumatic event.


The actual event can be short-lived, such as witnessing an accident or being a victim of a crime, or it can be long-term, like living in an abusive situation or war zone.

Not everyone who experiences such events develops PTSD and researchers don’t know why some people do while others don’t.

June is PTSD Awareness Month in the United States, and June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), PTSD affects as many as 7.7 million adults in the U.S.


The condition also affects children.

Some people with PTSD would be sepsis survivors, particularly those treated in an intensive care unit (ICU), and even more so if they had to be placed on a ventilator to help them breathe.

According to a study from Johns Hopkins, published in 2013, one in three people in the ICU who were ventilated developed PTSD.


Post-sepsis syndrome is a syndrome that affects up to 50% of sepsis survivors.

They may be left with physical problems, such as amputations or organ dysfunction, or psychological effects, such as decreased cognitive function or PTSD. Signs of PTSD may include:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling jumpy
  • Being easily irritated and angered

If you suspect you may have PTSD, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers a screening quiz for symptoms of PTSD.

This screening test is meant for printing out and sharing with your healthcare professional.

It is not meant to replace visiting your doctor, nurse, or therapist.


PTSD can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination. If you believe you have PTSD, speak with your healthcare professional and ask for help. If you are in crisis, call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit their page and click on the “chat” button.


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Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Patients With HIV/AIDS


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    1. Presentation
    2. Diagnosis
    3. Management of Survivors of Trauma
  3. Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)
  4. References
  5. Further Reading

I. Introduction

Exposure to a traumatic event is normally accompanied by distress.

For most individuals, such distress resolves spontaneously without the onset of any psychiatric illness. Among a subset of people, the type, severity, and duration of symptoms following trauma will meet the criteria for either acute stress disorder (ASD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

ASD is not as well studied as PTSD.

Some trauma researchers feel ASD is on a continuum with PTSD and that the cut-off times for the two disorders are arbitrary.

Therefore, a more detailed description of trauma and its treatment is provided in Section II: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Trauma can affect both psychological and physical functioning.

Some research has suggested that the physical effects of trauma have been related to significant health problems, such as diminished functioning of the immune system and increased susceptibility to infections.

The psychological effects of PTSD may manifest in increased risk-taking behavior, such as substance use, poor eating habits, or unsafe sexual activity.

In addition, patients with PTSD may suffer from depression, social isolation, impairments in trust and attachments, and feelings of anger.

Patients with HIV/AIDS may be affected by past trauma to the point that it manifests in problems with disease management, such as disrupted or negative interactions with medical personnel and/or medication non-adherence.

Key Point

Exposure to traumatic events can lead to increased risk-taking behavior, including substance use, unsafe sexual practices, and difficulty forming therapeutic relationships with medical personnel.


II. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can result from a single traumatic event, such as a car accident, rape, or experience of a natural disaster, or an ongoing pattern of traumatic experiences, such as childhood abuse (physical and/or sexual), domestic violence, homelessness, military duty or combat, or severe chronic illness. Because the psychological symptoms that commonly occur following a traumatic event may remit spontaneously over time for most people, some researchers conceptualize PTSD as a disorder of recovery.

Key Point

The likelihood of a patient developing PTSD varies according to the affected person's vulnerability and the stressor's severity.


A history of previous traumatic experiences increases a person's vulnerability to developing PTSD upon exposure to subsequent trauma. Previous traumatic experiences may impair his/her ability to handle future stressors. The more severe the trauma, the greater the likelihood that the patient will develop PTSD.


The rate of PTSD following exposure to a particular trauma ranges from 12% to 70%, with the higher rates occurring in populations exposed to interpersonal violence (e.g., rape, sexual abuse, torture). Women have higher rates of PTSD than men. Among women, sexual assault is the most common precipitating trauma, whereas, among men, the most common trauma is combat exposure.

Although PTSD has a lifetime prevalence rate of approximately 1.3% to 7.8% in the general population, the rates of PTSD in the HIV-infected population are higher.

The prevalence of PTSD in HIV-infected individuals may be as high as 42%.1 Although the onset of a severe, life-threatening illness (such as HIV/AIDS) can sometimes be a traumatic experience leading to PTSD, more often, a history of physical or psychological trauma (and diagnosis of PTSD) co-occurs with an individual's HIV status.

Among people with the most severe mental illnesses, specifically schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder, comorbid PTSD is a significant predictor of HIV infection.2


A. Presentation

Patients with PTSD may show a variety of symptoms, which must persist for more than 1 month to meet the criteria for PTSD. The symptoms may be straightforward or may vacillate between overwhelming emotions caused by memories of the event and emotional numbness and dissociation. Dissociation is a disruption in the ordinary integration of consciousness, memory, or identity. It can present as flashbacks, depersonalization, derealization, and/or episodes of lost time.


B. Diagnosis


The primary care clinician should screen for PTSD annually or more often as clinically indicated.

Clinicians should use the criteria listed in the DSM-IV for a diagnosis of PTSD in patients with HIV/AIDS (see Table 1).

Clinicians should screen patients with PTSD or significant trauma histories for clinical depression, anxiety disorders, or alcohol or other substance use disorders.


Key Point

Patients with PTSD may have dissociative symptoms, mistaken for HIV-related dementia or other HIV-related neuropsychiatric disorders.


In patients with a history of traumatic experience, it is important to assess for the presence of PTSD by asking about the experience of the trauma and reviewing the symptoms. PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms have been present for more than 1 month and an individual meets the other criteria listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Diagnostic Criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

  1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death, serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
  2. The person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:

  1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions
  2. Recurrent distressing dreams of the event
  3. Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (e.g., a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated)
  4. Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
  5. Physiological reactivity upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma) as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

  1. Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
  2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
  3. Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
  4. Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  5. The feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
  6. Restricted range of effect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
  7. Sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma) as indicated by two (or more) of the following:

  1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  2. Irritability or outbursts of anger
  3. Difficulty concentrating
  4. Hypervigilance
  5. Exaggerated startle response

E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in criteria B, C, and D) is more than 1 month

F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Text Revision, Copyright 2000. American Psychiatric Association.


C. Management of Survivors of Trauma


Clinicians should refer patients with symptoms of PTSD to a mental health professional as soon as possible for evaluation for psychotherapy or other forms of psychiatric treatment. The goal of treatment should be to reduce symptoms and fully reintegrate a safe sense of self.

If specialized services are unavailable, the primary care clinician should prescribe medications (see Appendix II) and monitor the improvement achieved with this strategy alone.

During the acute phase of treatment, clinicians should assess the patient's risk for harm to him/herself or others.

Some patients respond to medication and brief supportive interventions; most require psychotherapy and specialized mental health intervention.

However, if such services are unavailable, the primary care clinician should prescribe medication and monitor the improvement achieved with this strategy alone.


There is no single medication that treats all of the symptoms of PTSD.

Currently, sertraline and paroxetine are the only FDA-approved medications for PTSD.

Paroxetine should be avoided in patients less than 18 years old because of its possible association with increased suicide risk.

All SSRIs (in the same doses used for depression) help treat symptoms of depression and anxiety. Moreover, controlled and open studies of various SSRIs and other antidepressants have shown benefits in treating PTSD symptoms.3

Open trial studies of mood stabilizers have also shown some benefits. Long-term benzodiazepine use is not a preferred treatment.

If benzodiazepines are prescribed, careful monitoring is required due to the potential for abuse and concerns about disinhibition in those with significant dissociative symptoms.

Key Point

Although patients with PTSD may seek help for associated somatic symptoms, they may perceive medical intervention as intrusive and thus re-traumatizing.


Empirically validated psychotherapy treatments include exposure therapy, anxiety management programs, and cognitive therapy.

These treatments modify fear and false cognitions created in response to single or multiple traumas and improve coping skills in the face of new stressors.

Treatment is offered through individual and group modalities.

Several studies show that psychodynamic treatments can also be helpful.

Early evidence supports the concurrent treatment of PTSD and addiction.


III. Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)


For patients who meet the criteria for ASD, clinicians should follow the same guidelines as those recommended for managing PTSD (see Section II. C: Management of Survivors of Trauma).

Many of the symptoms of ASD (see Table 2) overlap with those of PTSD. ASD defines as a severe stress response that follows shortly after a traumatic event, whereas PTSD cannot be diagnosed until symptoms have persisted for 30 days or longer.

The presence of full or partial ASD is associated with an increased risk of developing PTSD.


In various studies, numbing, depersonalization, a sense of reliving the trauma, motor restlessness, and peri-traumatic dissociation was found to predict progression to PTSD.4

These associations raise the possibility that effective early treatment of trauma symptoms can be a useful strategy in preventing PTSD.

However, it should be noted that many trauma survivors who develop PTSD do not have initial ASD symptoms, and many individuals with ASD will not develop PTSD.

Table 2: Diagnostic Criteria for Acute Stress Disorder

A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

  1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death, serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
  2. The person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

B. Either while experiencing or after experiencing the distressing event, the individual has three (or more) of the following dissociative symptoms:

  1. A subjective sense of numbing, detachment, or absence of emotional responsiveness
  2. A reduction in awareness of his/her surroundings (e.g., "being in a daze")
  3. Derealization
  4. Depersonalization
  5. Dissociative amnesia (i.e., inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma)

C. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:

Recurrent images, thoughts, dreams, illusions, flashback episodes, or a sense of reliving the experience; or distress on exposure to reminders of the traumatic event

D. Marked avoidance of stimuli that arouse recollections of the trauma (e.g., thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities, places, people)

E. Marked symptoms of anxiety or increased arousal (e.g., difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, motor restlessness)

F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning or impairs the individual's ability to pursue some necessary task, such as obtaining necessary assistance or mobilizing personal resources by telling family members about the traumatic experience

G. The disturbance lasts for a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 4 weeks and occurs within four weeks of the traumatic event

H. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition, is not better accounted for by a brief psychotic disorder and is not merely an exacerbation of a preexisting Axis I or Axis II disorder.

Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Text Revision, Copyright 2000. American Psychiatric Association.



  1. Cohen M, Hoffman RG, Cromwell C, et al. The prevalence os distress in persons with human immunodeficiency virus infection. Psychosomatics 2002;43:10-15.

  2. Essock SM, Dowden S, Constatine NT, et al. Risk factors for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C among persons with severe mental illness. Psychiatr Serv 2003;54:836-841.

  3. Cooper J, Carty J, Creamer M. Pharmacotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: Empirical review and clinical recommendations. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2005;39:674-682.

  4. Harvey AG, Bryant RA. The relationship between acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: A prospective evaluation of motor vehicle accident survivors. J Consult Clin Psychol 1998;66:507-512.

Further Reading

American Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Bethesda, MD. Available at:

Bisson JI. Post Traumatic stress disorder. BMJ 2007;334:789-793.

Cohen MA, Gorman JM, eds. Comprehensive Textbook of AIDS Psychiatry. New York: Oxford University Press; 2008.

Fernandez F, Ruiz P, eds. Psychiatric Aspects of HIV/AIDS. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.

Foa EB, Stein DJ, McFarlane AC. Symptomatology and psychopathology of mental health problems after disaster. J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67:15-25.

Organization of AIDS Psychiatry. Bethesda, MD: Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Available at:


Yehuda R.  Biology of posttraumatic stress disorder. J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62:41-46.

Yehuda R. (ed.) Treating Trauma Survivors With PTSD. American Psychiatric Publishing Inc, Washington DC, 2002.

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What Are the Treatments for PTSD?

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a type of anxiety disorder, can happen after a deeply threatening or scary event. Even if you weren't directly involved, the shock of what happened can be so great that you have a hard time living a normal life.

People with PTSD can have insomnia, flashbacks, low self-esteem, and a lot of painful or unpleasant emotions.

You might constantly relive the event -- or lose your memory of it altogether.

When you have PTSD, it might feel like you'll never get your life back.

But it can be treated.

Short- and long-term psychotherapy and medications can work very well. Often, the two kinds of treatment are more effective together.



PTSD therapy has three main goals:


  • Teach you skills to deal with it
  • Improve your symptoms
  • Restore your self-esteem

Most PTSD therapies fall under cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea is to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your life.

This might happen through talking about your trauma or concentrating on where your fears come from.

Depending on your situation, group or family therapy might be a good choice for you instead of individual sessions.


Cognitive Processing Therapy

CPT is a 12-week course of treatment, with weekly sessions of 60-90 minutes.

At first, you'll talk about the traumatic event with your therapist and how your thoughts related to it have affected your life. Then you'll write in detail about what happened.

This process helps you examine your thoughts about your trauma and find new ways to live with it.


For example, maybe you've been blaming yourself for something.

Your therapist will help you consider everything beyond your control, so you can move forward, understanding and accepting that, deep down, it wasn't your fault, despite things you did or didn't do.


Prolonged Exposure Therapy

If you've been avoiding things that remind you of the traumatic event, PE will help you confront them. It involves eight to 15 sessions, usually 90 minutes each.

Early on in treatment, your therapist will teach you breathing techniques to ease your anxiety when you think about what happened. Later, you'll make a list of the things you've been avoiding and learn how to face them, one by one. In another session, you'll recount the traumatic experience to your therapist, then go home and listen to a recording of yourself.

Doing this as "homework" over time may help ease your symptoms.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

With EMDR, you might not have to tell your therapist about your experience. Instead, you concentrate on it while you watch or listen to something they're doing -- maybe moving a hand, flashing light, or making a sound.


The goal is to be able to think about something positive while you remember your trauma. It takes about three months of weekly sessions.


Stress Inoculation Training

SIT is a type of CBT.

You can do it by yourself or in a group.

You won't have to go into detail about what happened.

The focus is more on changing how you deal with the stress from the event.


You might learn massage, breathing techniques, and other ways to stop negative thoughts by relaxing your mind and body.

After about three months, you should have the skills to release the added stress from your life.



The brains of people with PTSD process "threats" differently, partly because the balance of chemicals called neurotransmitters are out of whack.

They have an easily triggered "fight or flight" response, making you jumpy and on edge.

Trying to shut that down could lead to feeling emotionally cold and removed.


Medications help you stop thinking about and reacting to what happened, including having nightmares and flashbacks. They can also help you have a more positive outlook on life and feel "normal" again.


Several types of drugs affect the chemistry in your brain related to fear and anxiety. Doctors will usually start with medications that affect the neurotransmitters serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs), including:

The FDA has approved only paroxetine and sertraline for treating PTSD.

Because people respond differently to medications, and not everyone's PTSD is the same, your doctor may prescribe other medicines "off-label," too. (That means the manufacturer didn't ask the FDA to review studies of the drug's effectiveness specifically for PTSD.) These may include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Antipsychotics or second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Benzodiazepines

It's OK for you to use a medicine off-label if your doctor thinks there's a reason to.

Medications might help you with specific symptoms or related issues, such as prazosin (Minipress) for insomnia and nightmares.


Which one or combination of meds is likely to work best for you depends partly on the kinds of trouble you're having in your life, what the side effects are like, and whether you also have anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse problems.


It takes time to get the dosage of some medications right. With certain medications, you might need to have regular tests -- for example, to see how your liver is working -- or check in with your doctor because of possible side effects.


Medications probably won't eliminate your symptoms, but they can make them less intense and more manageable.

AIDS Survivor Syndrome: It's Real


Nate woke up covered in sweat from the nightmare he had dreamt a thousand times. In it, he endlessly ran from the faceless man with the gun, breathless and fearful, waiting for the bullet that never came. Deprived of sleep, his days and nights often merged, clouded by a meth addiction that helped him escape the belief that he was damaged goods, or the pain of his survivor guilt, or the disorientation of living a life he never expected to have. As those dark, early days of the epidemic became a historical footnote, Nate felt even more alone and turned increasingly inward, using drugs and impulsive, anonymous hookups to numb emotional pain.


Nate was a survivor -- barely. In 1986, while still in his 20s, he was diagnosed with HIV. That day his life changed forever with a "death sentence" that quickly came true for dozens of his friends. Even as he cared for his dying lover, Nate was hospitalized numerous times, at his worst declining into a skeleton, covered with Kaposi's Sarcoma lesions and suffering early-stage dementia. Nate had no choice but to go on disability, losing a promising career and forfeiting his dreams, financial security, and belief in a future. For years Nate's sole focus was survival.

Then, in 1996, he received a new class of HIV medication and his symptoms began to abate. Like a brightening sky after a storm, Nate awoke from a decadelong nightmare, except the psychological effects of the trauma lived on in his head. His body stabilized in the years that followed yet he alternated between overwhelming grief and anger. He withdrew, keeping his grief private, not even allowing himself to feel it lest he be overwhelmed. With each year that passed, fewer people even remembered the terrible early days of the epidemic, leaving Nate feeling alienated, damaged and alone.

Thousands of other survivors who lived through the devastation of the 1980s and 1990s continue to share similar feelings. While trauma can lead to symptoms such as depression, flashbacks, nightmares, and conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), long-term survivors of HIV (LTS) experienced a sustained, relentless trauma over the course of several decades, resulting in a spectrum of symptoms that appear to have created a syndrome unique to this population and more similar to what is called complex PTSD. This cluster of symptoms, named AIDS Survivor Syndrome (ASS) by activist and long-term survivor Tez Anderson, have not, until now, been scientifically assessed. That has changed and it appears ASS is indeed a real syndrome.


Related: Living and Aging Well With HIV: New Strategies and New Research

Recounting those early days, Tez Anderson states, "many of us went down a rabbit hole, experiencing years of anger, anxiety and poor sleep with nightmares." People were universally told to make plans to die, all the while stigmatized and, in many cases, abandoned. To address these issues Anderson started a grassroots organization in San Francisco called Let's Kick Ass: AIDS Survivor Syndrome which pays tribute to the experience of survivors and creates opportunities to heal emotional pain with community and tools such as gratitude and sense of purpose.

Anderson intuitively understood how it felt to live with ASS, but there was no scientific research to validate it. At the same time, Dr. Ron Stall, a noted HIV researcher, Professor of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh and investigator of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), became interested in the concept, noting that "street epidemiology tends to be pretty correct and street wisdom raises questions that are worth looking into very carefully." Dr. Stall's research has long focused on resilience in the face of adversity, especially regarding both HIV and addiction among gay men. By further defining ASS he hopes to identify strengths and characteristics of resilience among those who survived.


Dr. Stall and a research team examined records selected from the MACS study, a longitudinal research project of over 7,000 men with and without HIV dating back to the 1980s. They identified nine variables such as feeling depressed or isolated, or not believing one had a future, and then examined prevalence of these symptoms among men living with HIV and enrolled in the MACS study. Stall found that 22% reported experiencing three or more of the identified symptoms either "fairly frequently," "at least once a week," or "every day." This high prevalence appears to validate the concept of ASS and, with factor analysis, will provide a conceptual basis for the development of resilience-based interventions.

Stall and his team are in the early stages of exploring AIDS Survivor Syndrome but several things have become clear. The men in the epidemic, with or without HIV, experienced personal losses that numerically exceeded those sustained in World War I and which resulted in substantial psychological distress. The factors (symptoms) examined in the data appear to be strongly related to each other and variance among them seems to be best explained by a single factor. Definitively distinguishing AIDS Survivor Syndrome from depression or PTSD remains to be completed but long-term survivors have already found that the emerging shape of AIDS Survivor Syndrome validates their lived experience.

Much work remains to be completed. For example, do ASS variables function similarly across different groups such those living or not living with HIV, racial minorities, or age cohorts? Do HIV-positive men who score higher on ASS measures have worse viral load trajectories over time, or do certain resiliencies moderate the effects of ASS on viral load outcomes among HIV positive men? Armed with these data it will be possible to create interventions to address the needs of survivors. This may entail adaptation of existing therapies for depression and/or PTSD, or the development of interventions built from the ground up. They will be increasingly important as the cohort of survivors from the 1980s and 1990s ages along with uncertainties due to the physical and psychological consequences of a lifetime with HIV.


The enormity of the AIDS epidemic on the lives of survivors cannot be overstated. Overwhelming loss, stigma and discrimination, lifelong physical injury such as neuropathy, and psychological consequences, all under the specter of imminent death, have done real harm. As the scientific evidence for AIDS Survivor Syndrome takes shape, the experience of survivors is validated and opportunities to thrive and create resilience can be developed. Anderson, puts it this way: "For survivors who have wondered what their experience with HIV means now that it is considered a chronic illness, or who have struggled to express their condition to health care providers, this study harvests hope, allowing LTS to reauthor their story and find meaning and purpose."

Get updates on research and information at Let's Kick Ass. Learn more about HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, which is June 5, 2018.

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., is a social worker, certified sex therapist and clinical hypnotherapist. He has worked in the areas of mental health and substance abuse for more than 25 years.