Counseling for HIV infection
During counseling, a qualified counselor helps you cope with or change your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors regarding HIV infection. Your family and caregivers may also benefit from counseling.
- Counseling is usually short-term (8 to 20 visits) but may take months or years.
- You may seek short-term therapy more than once as the HIV infection progresses.
Sessions may be individual or as part of a group.
There are several types of counseling:
- Interpersonal therapy focuses on current relationships.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy identifies irrational or faulty thinking and helps to change problem behaviors.
- Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unresolved childhood and teenage experiences and their impact on your current thoughts and feelings.
The choice of counseling is based on your individual needs, background, and symptoms.
Why It Is Done
How Well It Works
The effectiveness of counseling varies. Some people respond very well. Others find minimal relief. Studies suggest that counseling can effectively treat people with HIV who also have problems with depression.
Counseling sometimes includes becoming a member of a support group. Support groups are often good places to share information, problem-solving tips, and emotions related to HIV infection. The organizations listed in the Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection often sponsor support groups for people who test positive for HIV, as well as for their caregivers and friends. Contact one of these organizations to find the support group nearest you.
What To Think About
Select a therapist who is trained and experienced in treating people who have HIV infection.
Counseling may be expensive, depending on the type of therapy and the provider. Check with your health plan to determine whether coverage for counseling is provided.
For more information, see the topic Depression.
Last Updated: April 10, 2009