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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Triad I know so well, HIV, Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Crazy few weeks for me, I feel like my phone hasn't stopped ringing of late for as soon as I hang up there's another call on the triad I know so well; HIV, Mental Health and Substance Abuse and recovery. Case in point my most recent post, titled Two Articles within two weeks, A milestone.

If you are diagnosed HIV positive you read POZ magazine  and the Body, The Body Pro, others are Positively Aware and HIV Plus Magazine,  all have done justice to those who are dual diagnosed as they hold true to my own blog site P2P: You are not Alone title, a comprehensive on all those who are  dual diagnosed like me.

Today's post is on an excellent article I read titled, Mental Health and HIV, the Unchartered Territory by Myles Helfand.  This article is a must read, thank you Myles, Editorial Director of the Body Pro.  There is also a audio of the article.

There are so many places I want to jump in, so I'm just going to quote from the first paragraph, "In other words, we talk a lot about our patients' physiological health. We don't talk near as much about their mental health," this is so true as my own story is about talking to your HIV provider if you are dealing with depression and substance abuse, as it may be a mental illness.

As a consumer advocate living with both I often tout that I'm in the trenches.  Imagine being HIV+ and living with Bipolar disorder, your in the waiting room and not one flyer on mental health, talk about  stigma.  And then you are presenting at a mental health conference on HIV and mental health and compound stigma  and the day before being asked not to emphasize the HIV so much, the opening power point page is my photo found on my blog. oops, I guess that ain't happening.

Uncharted territory, is there a map maker in the room, fellow in the back I didn't hear your name, please say it a little louder, "Health Reform."  

Additional Resources
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and it's
The Affordable Care Act builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to extend federal parity protections to 62 million Americans. The parity law aims to ensure that when coverage for mental health and substance use conditions is provided, it is generally comparable to coverage for medical and surgical care. The Affordable Care Act builds on the parity law by requiring coverage of mental health and substance use disorder benefits for millions of Americans in the individual and small group markets who currently lack these benefits, and expanding parity requirements to apply to millions of Americans whose coverage did not previously comply with those requirements
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act and set into place an effort that will help ensure Americans have secure, stable, affordable health insurance. Historically, people living with HIV and AIDS have had a difficult time obtaining private health insurance and have been particularly vulnerable to insurance industry abuses. Consistent with the goals of the President’s

National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Affordable Care Act makes considerable strides in addressing these concerns and advancing equality for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Two articles on HIV, mental health and substance abuse within two weeks, a milestone.

Two articles on HIV, mental health and substance abuse and recovery within two weeks.  As a consumer advocate for HIV and Mental Health since 2004 this is a milestone.  First you were lucky if you found research studies, now there are books, and now fellow consumers are sharing their stories, like me.

This came across my desk, Positive Impact Marks 20 years in fight HIV through Mental Health  an article that hit home for me as like the three people who so bravely stepped up to share their story, thank you.  "Substance abuse is often a factor in people becoming HIV," this is a statement I could relate with, can you?

This came in my mailbox the same week, POZ Magazine the cover photo is Jamar Rogers, the article Step by Step breaking free from addiction,.  Again I want to thank the people who stepped up to share their story, thank you.  In this article I read, "substance abuse fuels HIV rate--and is prevalent among people with HIV."

I love facts, from the POZ magazine article above, "A 2010 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services report, nearly 25 percent of Americans with HIV/AIDS were in need of treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use."   

Please I can't say this enough,"if you are living with HIV and dealing with substance abuse talk to your HIV provider."    Possible you are suffering from mental health and like HIV with the right combo of medications as well as support groups you can recover from all three.  "Substance abuse is often a factor in people becoming HIV+," for me this is true, is this true for you?

Get help, look on the walls while at your providers there you will see support groups.  If you are in a city that has a GLBT community center, do the same thing, or better yet call.  If you don't call a hospital, ask for patient services, check your State's Department of Health, Health and Human Services.  You can't do this alone

Other Resources:

Crystal Meth Anonymous
World Wide Directory

HIV Anonymous
HIV Anonymous is run by the HIV Anonymous World Service Organization (HIVAWSO). The WSO is the centralized governing body that provides structure for the General Service Office (GSO), Area Service Representatives (ASR’s), and Group Service Representatives (GSR’s).

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

  • 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance Support Group Locator

DBSA Online Support Group