The Handbook of AIDS Psychiatry is a practical guide for AIDS psychiatrists and other mental health professionals as well as for other clinicians who work with persons with HIV and AIDS and a companion book to the Comprehensive Textbook of AIDS Psychiatry (Cohen and Gorman, 2008). The Handbook provides insights into the dynamics of adherence to risk reduction and medical care in persons with HIV and AIDS as well as strategies to improve adherence using a biopsychosocial approach. Psychiatric disorders can accelerate the spread of the virus by creating barriers to risk reduction. Risky sexual behaviors and sharing of needles in intravenous drug users account for the majority of new cases each year. Delirium, dementia, depression, substance dependence, PTSD, and other psychiatric disorders complicate the course and add considerably to the pain and suffering of persons with AIDS. HIV infection and AIDS also are risk factors for suicide, and the rate of suicide has been shown to be higher in persons with AIDS. Psychiatric care can help prevent HIV transmission through recognition and treatment of substance-related disorders, dementia, and mood disorders such as mania.
Comprehensive, coordinated care by a multidisciplinary AIDS team, including AIDS psychiatrists, can provide a biopsychosocial approach that is supportive to patients, families, and clinicians. Psychiatric interventions are valuable in every phase of infection, from identification of risk behaviors to anticipation about HIV testing; from exposure and initial infection to confirmation with a positive HIV antibody test; from entry into systems of care to managing complex antiretroviral regimen; from healthy seropositive to onset of first AIDS-related illness; from late stage AIDS to end-stage AIDS and death. There is no comprehensive handbook of AIDS psychiatry to guide clinicians in providing much needed care. The Handbook of AIDS Psychiatry is a practical pocket guide that provides protocols for the recognition and treatment of the psychiatric disorders most prevalent in persons with AIDS and most relevant for primary physicians, infectious disease specialists, and other caregivers because of their impact on health, adherence, behavior, and quality of life.