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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 2014 HIV and Mental Healh in the News

With a Mandate for Change, a Longtime HIV/AIDS Leader Steps Up as Chief Officer for NYC's Massive Human Service Agency by (Julie "JD" Davids, August 25, 2014)

Read More:

"Tasked with managing all that HRA's 14,000 staff members do to provide direct services to New Yorkers, Tietz now oversees a broad range of programs, including Adult Protective Services; the HIV/AIDS Services Administration; Domestic Violence; Shelters and Services; Disaster Assistance and Crisis Management and Customized Assistance Services for public assistance recipients."


Opinion: Shining a light on mental illness (Robert T. Foster, Edmonton Journal

Read More::

 "Almost five per cent of admissions to hospitals are related to mental health issues, including anxiety, bipolar disorders, major depressive disorders, low-grade depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), impulse control, eating disorders, substance abuse and suicidal behaviour. Such disorders comprise the second highest cost of running a hospital in Canada."

"Suicide is responsible for about 25 per cent of all deaths among 15- to 24-year-olds and 16 per cent among 25- to 44-year-olds. It’s one of the leading causes of death from adolescence to middle age"

With advances in HIV care, survivors face other disease risks  Contact: Connie Hughes
646-674-6348 Wolters Kluwer Health 

Read More: 

"Research and Planning to Meet Health Needs of People Living with HIV"

"Large-scale HIV treatment and prevention programs have substantially lowered the rates of HIV infection and deaths from HIV/AIDS. Dr Narayan and coauthors write, "Today, with over 35 million people living (and aging) with HIV and over two million becoming infected every year, we are faced with a new challenge: addressing morbidity and mortality from NCDs—heart disease, stroke, diabetes and metabolic complications, renal disease, cancers, liver disease, and mental illness—that increase with age and may be related to HIV and its treatment."






Sunday, August 24, 2014

Writing Relaxes Me, Helps me focus when feeling Manic

You would think someone with one website up 2twenty years that focused on writing letters lobbying for city services in Boston and a short Freelance writing gig with AOL-Digital City Boston, and then finally my other website up ten years this year, with blog posts 66 in two years would mean I am a perfect speller. I'm not, editing is for editors ....I miss having one, but I learned more important is if your content is right on, then that's all that matter and lastly -- Just write.

 Writing relaxes me, helps me focus when I'm manic.

I first started writing when I was 34 years old, in twenty two years I never hit spell check and got this pop-up seen in photo I snapped above.

The little things that make your day, the photo, the ease of pulling a topic together, it truly made my day as I try to keep to a blog post schedule.  The above was from an email I wrote, how cool is it when something good comes from something you were doing anyway.

Share your little thing here either today or this week after reading mine and share via the comment button.


How to Calm a Manic Episode 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Project Hope Exchange All in 30 Seconds

I'm committee Chair for HIV/AIDS fellow consumer/peers/friend.  My goal is to ask 20 + HIV+ men or women to leave a 30 second message of hope.  It's by first name only. 
Please help me by participating and sharing this post.

Thank You

More about Project Hope Exchange

At the core of Project Hope Exchange are two key components: a PHE Hope Line
(855-975-4673), through which adversity survivors can leave 30-second messages of
hope; and a searchable online repository of recorded messages at  

“We believe something especially powerful happens
when a survivor of a particular adversity speaks directly to someone currently battling
that same adversity,” said A2A Alliance founder and PHE co-creator Jeff Bell, “and
we’ve attempted to build an interactive, multimedia platform that makes that process as
easy as possible.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Just Wish Everyone on SSDI Is Eligible for Both, Many Are Not!

Excellent  post Mathew, thank you.  "On being broke but- not poor" (source Huffington Post) August 4, 2014"   You are not alone on your dual diagnoses of HIV and mental health.   "Dr. Glenn J. Treisman, MD, Ph.D., who is Director of the AIDS Psychiatry services at John Hopkins Hospital estimates that at any given time 1 in 5 HIVers is suffering from a major depression and require psychiatric treatment."

I applaud the promotion of "Medi/Medi,” I just wish everyone on SSDI is eligible for both, many are not, I'm not and the affordable care act doesn't apply to me either as I’m at 141% of the Federal Poverty Level.

“The CDC predicts that 50 percent of those living with HIV in the U.S. will be over 50 years of age by 2015.”  “And by 2020, more then 70 percent of Americans with HIV are expected to be age 50 and older, source: (the Diverse Elders Coalition).  In 2015 I will be 56 years old.

In the article being broke but not poor, Mr. Ebert says, "I believe in Medicare,"  I couldn't agree more. Without Medicare I wouldn't be able to cover the 80% of the estimated $56,000 a year being paid for my mental health treatment, HIV labs, HIV and psychotropic medications.   

I'm also thankful for receiving all my services at a clinic where services are on a sliding scale based on income.  What's starting to happen is I'm aging, and I'm needing care of specialist, many who don't bill based on a sliding scale, so I'm being hit with co-pays as with Medicare only I have to cover 20%.

 ACRIA, Center on HIV and Aging  in 2013 held a one day conference on HIV and Aging
From that conference came the following, “ since many of these older adults with HIV have the triple diagnoses of HIV, depression and substance abuse.  These health factors are exacerbated by the impact of HIV stigma, ageism, racism and poverty, which contribute to social isolation. Consequently many adults with HIV will lack informal supports as they age and will increasingly rely on costly health and social services.”

Give up Medicare, would mean losing my SSDI.  Losing that means losing my housing and being able to afford the high costs associated with HIV and bipolar disorder as mentioned above. Take away those and substance use may come back taking down all that I've struggled with in on my bumpy road to recovery


Mental Health Problems Effect many of Us

AIDS (Dot) Gov

Diverse Elders Coalition

Growing Older With HIV/AIDS

2014 Federal Poverty Guidlines

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why is Positive Mental Health Important for People Living with HIV?

Many a day I put the kettle on to make tea and forget.  You see I'm using my Grandmothers old coffee pot as tea kettle and there's no whistle.   After yesterday's near melt that I started to smell metal ..two things happened.   One, this post and two, a tea kettle with a whistle.

Why is positive mental health important for consumers who are dual diagnosed HIV and with a mental illness, besides keeping your mind sharp, check out:

Source: AIDS.GOV Mental Health
"Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. When you have positive mental health, you generally are able to:
  • function better at work, at school, and in relationships.
  • cope more effectively with life’s difficulties, such as the death of a loved one, ending a relationship, job stress, health issues, and family or financial problems.
  • take better care of yourself physically.
  • provide better care for your children or other family members.
But mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel, and behave, and can change how well you function at work and at home. If you are living with HIV, mental health problems can affect your physical health by:
  • making it harder for you to take all your HIV medicines on time.
  • making it harder for you to keep your health appointments or take advantage of your support network.
  • interfering with your healthy behaviors, such as getting enough sleep and exercise and avoiding risk behaviors such as having unprotected sex.
  • impairing your ability to cope with the stresses of daily life.
Mental health problems are very common among all Americans, not just those living with HIV. In fact, in 2012, about:
  • One in five American adults experienced a diagnosable mental illness.
  • Nearly one in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression.
  • Four percent of American adults lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
As a person living with HIV, it is important for you to be aware that you have an increased risk for developing mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders. These conditions are treatable. People who experience mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. You can better manage your overall health and well-being if you know how having HIV can affect your mental health and what resources are available to help you if you need it."

I've taken to brain games, it helps me.  Give it a try.


Free Brain Games on AARP

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I've Battled Depression all My Life

Katerina age 32, diagnosed HIV in 2010

I've battled depression all my life. I'm a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, survivor of abuse, I was a cutter, I'm a recovering addict, been on multiple psych med's, diagnosed with multiple problems over the years, and I made a decision in 2012 to overcome depression and not let my life be dictated in-by negativity.

It hasn't been easy, however today depression does not consume me. My life was saved when I checked myself into an outpatient program at Langley Porter. While I use to teach CBT and meditation I never lived it. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) gave me the vehicle I needed to be living the life I needed, I wanted, and one I deserve. Through therapy, working on my issues, and with my determination, we incorporated these skills into my psychiatry and therapy; by working with my health and mental health teams, I've been able to get off psych med's including lithium. I have handlers, three sponsors, and my support systems that I check in with regularly. And DBT is just as important as working my recovery program, while being instrumental in reducing stress and living a wonderful quality of life I thought was unimaginable. I'm not saying I never feel depressed, I just have a better way of dealing and coping with things and I am stronger in all aspects of my life as a person because of it.

I love myself today, I know I am beautiful, I am worth it, and I deserve the quality of life I believe I deserve, and I and determined through hard work and perseverance to manifest these things. Today I'm happy to the point it's sickening lol and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am sober and I found redemption in a new life where I was once broken and shattered. For me I'm a mighty oak and will withstand all things. I've been through hell and back and there is nothing that is worth or is an excuse to relapse. Self sabotage no longer has a place, and I'm the first person to call myself out on my bullshit, thanks to the rooms of CMA, AA, NA, CODA, and Alanon.


DBT Self-Help

Wikipedia, DBT defined.

Wikipedia, CBT defined.







Monday, July 7, 2014

In the News July 2014

New HIV Cases Decline in DC

"At the end of 2012, 16,072 people were living with HIV in D.C. That represents 2.5 percent of D.C.'s population, a level still well above the World Health Organization's 1 percent definition of an epidemic. Of the over 16,000 people living with HIV, the majority are men (72.7 percent) and black (75 percent total, 68.5 percent men). The age groups most affected are people in their 40s (31.1 percent) and 50s (29.4 percent)"

"Interventions Crafted for Those Struggling With Mental Health and HIV Adherence Show Promise, Report States " 

"A clinical review published in the peer-reviewed journal LGBT Health in early June by Jaclyn M. White, M.P.H., Janna R. Gordon, and Matthew J. Mimiaga, Sc.D., M.P.H., from Harvard and the Fenway Institute in Massachusetts, indicates that there may be relief at hand for HIV-positive gay men struggling with added mental health and substance abuse issues that can add difficulty to sticking to an HIV medication regimen. White et al concluded that interventions that combine both adherence counseling with standard cognitive behavioral therapy have made some headway with participants in several recent intervention trials"

"Aging with HIV and AIDS: A growing social issue"

" the first people with HIV grow old, a new study from St. Michael's Hospital questions whether the health care system and other government policies are prepared to meet their complex medical and social needs.
In high-income countries such as Canada, 30 per cent of people living with HIV are 50 or older, and many are living into their 60s and 70s. In San Francisco, more than half the people with HIV are over 50."

"LGBT people living with mental illness face double stigma"

" uly is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and in Atlanta, the Health Initiative is teaming up with the DeKalb County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to bring awareness to LGBT people about resources available.
LGBT people with bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder or chronic depression not only face stigma not only because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, but also because of their mental illness.
“The double stigma of being GLBT and having a mental illness limits our access to resources and support. Not many can provide specialized care I think our community needs and this is a great disservice,” says Alisa Porter, marketing director of NAMI DeKalb.."

For a comprehensive listing of HIV and mental health resources visit: