Physical and mental health in African American mothers with HIV.
This article examines the physical and mental health of African American mothers during a 2-year period following the birth of an infant seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Participants were 34 African American mothers enrolled when the infants were approximately 3 months of age and reinterviewed when the infants were 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Three self-report questionnaires were used to assess physical health (perception of health, activity limitation, and physical symptoms) and mental health (depressive symptoms and stigma). Health symptoms most often reported were infections, problems thinking and remembering, low energy, and gynecologic problems. Moderate levels of perceived stigma were reported. Depressive symptoms were high; a large number of women at each data point had depressive symptom scores above the cutoff, indicating risk for depression. There were significant correlations between depressive symptoms and health, suggesting a link between mental and physical health. These findings have significance for the health of the mother and the parenting of her infant. Attention should be paid to the mental and physical health of mothers with HIV, especially during the first 2 years after the birth of a child.
Miles, MS; Gillespie, JV; Holditch-Davis, D
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