HIV & Mental Health: Real People. Real Stories.

Many people face mental health challenges at some point in their life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, that number is as high as one in five. A new diagnosis, or even managing a chronic health condition, can bring on more stress. During COVID-19 the pressures are even greater.

In powerful videos from Greater Than AIDS, individuals living with HIV speak about facing depression and other mental health challenges, and getting help.

Marnina

Having a health care team that was able to address my depression and anxiety propelled me to be able to address my HIV diagnosis. If I had not been able to address the mental health part of my diagnosis I would have never gotten to my treatment.”

Marissa

"Therapy was not one of those things that were talked about in our family and culturally. When I was finally able to sit down with a therapist, it was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I kind of felt, like, I wasn't holding a secret anymore. I think that for anyone that is struggling with just accepting the fact that they are living with HIV, talking to a friend or a professional is just super important."

Kahlib

“After I received my diagnosis, I honestly felt that I had to deal with it by myself. I didn't want my friends, family, or anyone else to judge me or not want to be around me anymore. Things changed for me when I met a woman who was living with HIV. It was the first time that I was able to see somebody who was healthy, had been living with HIV for quite some time, they were on medication and they had children. That was completely new for me, it was something I didn't think was possible being HIV positive.”

Mahlon

"I didn't want to seek treatment at the time because I didn't know what that looked like. I think what changed my perspective is when I saw other people living with HIV and being amazing, like dope people. And I realized that they look like me, they had the same background as me."

More Resources

Knowing when to seek is important. Below are resources to help, including free/low cost and virtual or phone support options.

  • The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call (800) 273-8255, available 24/7 in English and Spanish
  • The National Alliance on Mental Health: Call (800) 950-6264, Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 6:00pm EST
  • Crisis Text Line: Text the word "HOME" to 741-741, available 24/7

And click here for more information about HIV and mental health from HIV.gov.