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Books, Journals, New Media
June 23/30, 1999

HIV: HIV and Community Mental Healthcare

Author Affiliations

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edited by Michael D. Knox and Caroline H. Sparks, 300 pp, with illus, $55, ISBN 0-8018-5803-8, paper, $24.95, ISBN 0-8018-5804-6, Baltimore, Md, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

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JAMA. 1999;281(24):2349-2351. doi:10.1001/jama.281.24.2349-JBK0623-6-1

Those infected by HIV face a vexing future. Patients with early disease, who are often asymptomatic, must struggle against disease progression with complex medication regimens whose demands can be overwhelming. Those with more advanced disease, often afflicted with debilitating opportunistic infections, must deal with the realities of loss of independence and the inevitability of death.

An additional unneeded burden is the social stigma of HIV infection. Because of this, many patients become alienated from family, friends, and society and have therefore a greater need for social support and clinical insight. Knox and Sparks' HIV and Community Mental Healthcare is intended for those in the healthcare field who confront the AIDS epidemic on a daily basis and are best suited to deal with this stigmatization. This book covers topics that help caregivers gain a deeper understanding of patient psychodynamics as well as the daily issues that they must face. The intent of the authors is to help both clinicians and administrators of community mental health centers "improve their ability to care for persons affected by HIV and AIDS." A subtextual message emphasizes that fear and misinformation are rampant, yet underrecognized, impediments to caring for those with AIDS. This book successfully analyzes these issues and presents them in a logical, understandable format that is a truly useful resource for the reader. Although the book's focus is on the patient with HIV, the needs of the families and communities that are affected by this epidemic are also explored.