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Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and HIV-Related Disorders
Francisco Fernandez; Valerie F. Holmes; Joel K. Levy; Pedro Ruiz
Psychiatric Services 1989; doi:
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Psychiatric Consultation Service at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, 6720 Bertner Avenue, Room Y2439, Houston, Texas 77030

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Baylor College of Medicine in Houston

1989 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and related disorders are increasingly and unsettlingly prevalent. The authors describe neuropsychiatric, psychosocial, and ethical-legal problems associated with HIV infection that are commonly encountered in a consultation-liaison psychiatry setting. Because of H1V's potential for undermining cognitive function, they recommend a systematic neurobehavioral assessment for the differential diagnosis of emotional disturbance, including a test battery that also identifies neurotoxic effects of pharmacological agents. Among significant psychosocial and ethical-legal problems are patients' reactions to AIDS, their fears of social abandonment, staff burnout, antibody testing, confidentiality, and the use of life-support measures. The consultation-liaison psychiatrist's awareness of the complexities of HIV-related neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychosocial issues can be of enormous benefit to medical caregivers and to the patients themselves.

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