Depression Among HIV-Positive Women

Reducing depression among women infected with HIV

There is a certain issue with the fact that almost all the HIV/AIDS research concentrates on prevention of the virus and almost omits anything about those who are already infected. It is a known fact that HIV-positive women undergo a lot of stress and suffer severe depressions due to their psychological trauma (Ryu et al., 2016). To ease the lives of these women, the specific solutions to help them cope with their situation and restore their positive self-attitude should be found.

This problem has been remaining a long-lived gap in all of the HIV/AIDS researches. Since the modern medical science fails to eradicate the virus completely or find any effective treatment for it, the necessity to concentrate on the improvement of the quality of life of the infected is becoming a concern of utmost importance. The HIV-positive women need emotional support more than anyone, considering their condition and that the majority of them are unable to deal with it on their own. Supporting people experiencing internal stigma from the community is not an entirely advanced activity yet; it needs more looking into.

HIV/AIDS is a major health threat, and women are the ones who suffer the most. Their heightened vulnerability to HIV/AIDS transmission is the main problem along with the lack of timely and proper medical treatment (Raczynski & DiClemente, 2013).

For example, according to the UNICEF reports, South and Eastern Africa have the biggest rate of people living with HIV (48% among adults, 55% among children, and 48% deaths from HIV/AIDS), and the medical treatment in these regions does not make much difference (UNICEF, n.d., para. 1). This does not exclude the problem in the developed countries such as U.S. Despite having better health care conditions, the spread of the virus in cities like Miami, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Jackson, and Washington, D.C. is still observed (Reynolds, 2014).

Women are reported to fall victims to HIV/AIDS more often due to various factors including unsupportive and unreliable male partners and their drinking behavior (Jooste et al., 2007). This is why this issue is relevant. The best immediate things women can do to defend themselves from the infection are avoiding questionable sexual encounters, reducing the use of injective drugs, and managing their drinking behavior.

Current level of preparation and knowledge in deal with these problems

To make a study on how to reduce depression among women infected with HIV, the mixed approach is needed as the use of some qualitative (observations and interviews) and quantitative (surveys) data will be required (Caswell, 2003). There is an idea to model the research after the recently devised and relatively successful SMART/EST Women’s Program (Stress Management And Relaxation Training/Emotional Supportive Therapy).

This study will also be conducted by offering the participants a special course consisting of weekly therapy sessions on stress, anxiety, and depression management, with discussions on how to improve medication adherence and coping skills, and additional sessions dedicated to physical activity, nutrition, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, and sexual risk behavior (Weiss et al., 2014, p. 3). During the course, the interviews with the participants will be conducted to observe how they feel about themselves and their surroundings, what the improvements are, etc.

Conducting these interviews every week of the course will give a better scope of understanding their health condition, emotional state, and the level of stress resistance. If everything goes according to the SWP scheme, the results will show improving health and a drastic decrease in depression and distress among the participants. To attract participants, a small fee as compensation will be proposed to each of them.


Caswell, J. R. (2003). Research design. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Jooste, S., Kalichman, S., Simbayi, L., Vermaak, R., & Cain, D. (2008). HIV/AIDS Risks among Men and Women Who Drink at Informal Alcohol Serving Establishments (Shebeens) in Cape Town, South Africa. Prevention Science, 9(1), 55-62.

Raczynski, J. M., & DiClemente, R. J. (2013). Handbook of health promotion and disease prevention. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

Reynolds, D. (2014). The 25 U.S. Cities With the Highest Rates of HIV Infection. Web.

Ryu, J., Kim, Y., Kim, Y., Yun, H., Han, D., & Choi, N. (2016). Trauma, Depression, and Resilience among Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, 6(2), 76-81.

UNICEF. (n.d.). HIV and AIDS – Overview. Web.

Weiss, S., Tobin, J., Lopez, M., Simons, H., Cook, R., & Jones, D. (2014). Translating an Evidence-Based Behavioral Intervention for Women Living with HIV into Clinical Practice: The SMART/EST Women’s Program. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 22(3), 415-424.