Psychological distress among persons living with HIV, hypertension, and diabetes
It has been assumed that receipt of a diagnosis of HIV is a uniquely distressing event, more so than with any other illness. The present study compared the mean scores on the Hopkins Symptom Checklist, a measure of emotional distress, of South African patients living with HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, and both hypertension and diabetes. The differences among the four groups were non-significant, suggesting that living with HIV/AIDS may be no more emotionally distressing than other common chronic illnesses. In this research note, it is speculated that these findings may be accounted for in terms of the high prevalence of HIV in South Africa, the recent availability of antiretroviral treatment resulting in HIV being seen as a chronic illness rather than a death sentence, and the base rate of mental health problems among the South African population. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.