Mental health and pill-taking: Getting beyond HIV

Mental health and pill-taking: Getting beyond HIV

“A few weeks ago we lost Prudence Mbele, a beloved long-time activist living openly with HIV, who died of TB. Prudence was famous for her ‘pill holidays’ – a big no-no in HIV-land, as it leads to further immune damage. The idea of someone stopping their life-saving tablets – even temporarily – boggles the minds of most health providers. Her death triggered an intense media and Facebook/Twitter reaction, filled both with criticism at her choices as well as empathy, as people shared their own hard stories about taking antiretrovirals. Professor Francois Venter writes for Spotlight about the difficulties of taking pills for the rest of your life and dealing with the mental health issues relating to illness.

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How HIV shaped us

By Professor Glenda Gray & Professor James A. McIntyre – HIV changed the nature of health in South Africa as our new democracy emerged. Seemingly overnight, in front of our eyes, young people and children died in unprecedented numbers. HIV slashed life expectancy, wiped out a generation of economically active adults in their prime across sub-Saharan Africa, reversed gains in under-five mortality and created a cohort of AIDS orphans.

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