In this podcast series, we explore the experience of living with HIV and current research at Imperial on mental health and future treatment options.
During Pride Month at Imperial, we celebrate our diverse LGBTQ community. Despite these celebrations, this conversation highlights important areas regarding stigma and poor mental health which remain highly relevant for many individuals living with HIV.
In this series of podcasts, Dr Charlotte-Eve Short explores the modern-day experience of living with HIV and the research being done at Imperial College London into mental health and other complications of living with the virus as well as current and future treatment options for persons affected.
Stigma has long burdened persons living with HIV since it first emerged when it disproportionately affected marginalised gay and bisexual communities and intravenous drug users. The field has come a long way since the 1980s where diagnosis with HIV was a certain death sentence with no treatment, to modern day practice where most people take treatment that controls their virus, enables immune recovery, and prevents onward HIV transmission.
People living with HIV can now expect to live a long and healthy life. HIV has now spread to epidemic proportions worldwide, increasingly affecting people from all groups globally and in the UK. Despite huge successes in treatment and prevention options, many people living with HIV experience stigma, both self, perceived and experienced within society and healthcare.
Stigma has been shown to be a major barrier to accessing testing, care, and treatment. In these series of podcasts, we explore the modern-day experience of living with HIV and the research being done at Imperial College into mental health and other complications of living with the virus as well as current and future treatment options for persons affected.
1. Mental Health and HIV, findings from the UK POPPY study
Alan Winston is a Professor of HIV and Genitourinary Medicine at Imperial College and Consultant Physician at St. Mary’s Hospital, London. His research focuses on non-infectious co-morbidities associated with HIV-disease in the modern antiretroviral era, with a strong focus on central nervous system complications and is the principal clinical investigator on the POPPY study, a cohort study describing the incidence and nature of co-morbidities in HIV. Alan shares findings from the POPPY study on mental health and quality of life in persons with HIV.
2. A community perspective on stigma and living with HIV
Part 1: Lived experience of HIV associated Stigma
Part 2: Mental health with HIV, the role of peer mentoring and education
Kuba is a community peer mentor openly living with HIV who shares his wealth of experience of stigma and what charities like his employer: Metro are doing to combat this. Metro is an equality, diversity and inclusion services charity that promotes health and wellbeing through transformative services in mental and sexual health for anyone experiencing issues relating to sexuality, gender, equality, diversity, and identity. In part 1 Kuba talks about the stigma people living with HIV experience in our modern-day society and in part 2 Kuba talks about mental health and potential solutions to combatting stigma he and Metro are actively involved in.
3. Treatment to improve quality of life, long-acting options, and cure
Sarah Fidler is a Professor in HIV Medicine and communicable disease at Imperial College and Consultant Physician at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, who provides care for people living with HIV. Her main research interest is in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and cure of HIV infection. She is currently the chief investigator for the RIO study: a double blinded randomized trial testing HIV-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies (RIO) to control HIV, instead of antiretroviral therapy. Sarah talks about current and future treatment options for HIV and how these may impact stigma.
This podcast series was produced by the Department of Infectious Disease for Pride Month 2023.
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