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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

We offer a monthly newsletter dealing with the various issues surrounding infectious diseases.  To find out more click HERE


During those first critical days after you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness are important.  Your life is not over—the prophets have been dead for many centuries, so who is telling you that your life is over.  You still have a life. 


HIV/AIDS and Suicide:
Implications for Suicide Identification and Prevention
with Persons Infected with HIV

Ronald J. Kvalsund & Kelly Spillman
The Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline
Post Office Box 10950
Tallahassee, Florida 32302-0959

AIDS continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States. As of December, 1996, 571,324 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with AIDS (Centers for Disease Control, 1996). Although the number of AIDS related deaths are beginning to level off, the psychological and physiological pain for those already infected continues.

A person infected with the AIDS virus can live a healthy and productive life for seven to 10 years, on average. By the end of this period, the HIV virus has weakened the immune system to the point where it can no longer fight off infection, leaving the body open to any number of opportunistic infections that can cause pain and suffering, It is at this point that many individuals infected with HIV begin to seriously consider suicide as an option to living, Research shows that individuals infected with HIV are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their noninfected peers (Beckerman, 1995), For HIV positive individuals suicide is often preferred to ensuring the endless diseases and illnesses faced by those who's immune system no longer functions property. Many people with AIDS feel that suicide is the only alternative.


This presentation will focus on the psychosocial issues related to HIV and suicide. Specifically, topics such as social stigma, isolation, chronic grief, multiple losses, and the pain and suffering of dealing with chronic illness will be discussed in relationship to AIDS and suicide, Assisted suicide and rational suicide will also be examined, The presentation will end with implications for counselors and crisis personnel. As the debate about suicide continues, helpers are often caught in the middle of an ethical and clinical debate regarding a person's right to die.