ERIC Number: ED299534
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr-16
Reference Count: 0
A Suicide Prevention Program for HIV-Positive Patients.
Shaw, Seana; Rothberg, Joseph M.
Research has shown that suicide risk is elevated in the patient who has tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Studies within the Army have found that the three most turbulent periods for the soldier with HIV infection are: (1) at the time of notification of diagnosis; (2) when the family and peer group learn of the diagnosis; and (3) when there is concrete evidence of failing health. In response to the challenge of medical management of high risk patients, a multi-speciality ward program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was designed to meet and to prevent anticipated suicidal behavior. The ward program seeks to: (1) create a therapeutic and facilitating environment for the HIV sero-positive soldier; (2) screen the HIV positive soldier for psychiatric conditions and facilitate treatment; (3) provide information about the infectious nature of the illness; (4) initiate twice-a-week support groups; and (5) transfer the acutely suicidal, depressed, or impulsive patients to psychiatric units. Self-destructive behaviors are quickly identified and addressed. The biopsychosocial approach to the HIV patients addresses the multifaceted nature of the condition. By anticipating stressors at the three crucial phases, suicidal ideation and behavior can be quickly detected and psychiatric symptoms treated. Based on subjective staff appraisal, the program appears to have worked. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Suicidology (21st, Washington, DC, April 13-17, 1988).