Chapter

Psychosocial Factors, Spirituality/Religiousness, and Immune Function in HIV/AIDS Patients

GAIL IRONSON and NEIL SCHNEIDERMAN

in The Link Between Religion and Health

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143607
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143607.003.0009
Psychosocial Factors, Spirituality/Religiousness, and Immune Function in HIV/AIDS Patients

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In 2000, it was estimated that 36 million people worldwide had been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and that 15,000 people were being newly infected with the virus each day. In 1999 alone, 3 million people worldwide died of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Because HIV is a disease characterized by immune system dysfunction and is also resisted by the immune system, it would seem that psychoneuroimmunology effects on the immune function might have an even greater impact on the course of HIV infection than on the course of other infectious diseases. This chapter deals with the pathogenesis of HIV infection, its treatment, and the various psychosocial factors known to contribute to the progression of HIV to AIDS. It also examines the impact of religion and spirituality on these psychosocial factors and the implications that this may have for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Keywords: HIV infection; AIDS; psychoneuroimmunology; psychosocial factors; immune function

Chapter.  8231 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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