Chronic Diseases

By Marvin Stein; Andrew Baum | Go to book overview

8 Psychosocial Stressors, Herpesvirus Reactivation and HIV-1 Infection

Michael H. Antoni University of Miami

Brian A. Esterling Duke University

Susan Lutgendorf University of Iowa

Mary Ann Fletcher University of Miami

Neil Schneiderman University of Miami

We have conceptualized the human immunodeficiency virus-type I (HIV-1) infection as a chronic disease whose clinical course may be influenced by a wide array of psychosocial and biological factors ( Antoni, 1991; Antoni et al., 1990). Because more effective medical treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 infection is becoming available, there is now a fast-growing population of infected individuals who are coping with the complex and multiple psychosocial demands of a chronic life-threatening illness ( Antoni, 1991). Homosexual men comprise a large majority of HIV-1 infected individuals in the United States. These men face lifestyle-associated social stigmas in addition to the direct burdens of the HIV-1 infection and from a research standpoint, endure many of the psychosocial phenomena previously associated with impairments in the immune system.

Elsewhere, we have reviewed the numerous psychosocial changes ensuing a diagnosis of HIV-1 seropositivity ( Antoni, 1991). Briefly, these include major life events such as overt signs of progressive physical and neurological deterioration ( Redfield & Burke, 1988), chronic legal and societal stigmas ( Blendon & Donelan, 1988; Ginzburg & Gostin, 1986; Walkey, Taylor, & Green, 1990), overwhelming medical costs ( Bloom & Carliner, 1988), and multiple bereave-

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