Non-adherence to treatment and risk-reduction measures not only leads to increased morbidity and mortality in patients with HIV/AIDS but is also a major public health hazard. While there are multiple determinants of non-adherence, one that is particularly complex and refractory to intervention appears to be the history of childhood trauma and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While behavioral intervention is occasionally helpful in increasing a patient's commitment to self-care, it is our view that the use of a more psychoanalytic framework, as well as the development of a psychodynamic understanding of the patient's history and struggles, may provide both patient and clinician with a more profound understanding of the forces that perpetuate non-adherence, thus facilitating a more cohesive and empathic approach to treatment. It is the aim of this article to explore, from a psychodynamic perspective, the possible connections between early childhood trauma resulting in PTSD and non-adherence to risk reduction and HIV treatment.
Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis & Dynamic Psychiatry – Guilford Press
Published: Dec 1, 2011