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Coping with HIV: Sadness or Depression

for Veterans and the Public

Sadness or depression

It is also normal to feel sad when you learn you have HIV. If, over time, you find that the sadness doesn't go away or is getting worse, talk with your provider. You may need treatment for depression.

Symptoms of depression can include the following, especially if they last for more than two weeks:

  • Feeling sad, anxious, irritable, or hopeless
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Moving slower than usual or finding it hard to sit still
  • Losing interest in the things you usually enjoy
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Thinking about death or giving up

To deal with these symptoms, you may want to:

  • Talk with your provider about treatments for depression, such as therapy or medications.
  • Start HIV treatment, if you haven't done so already. Taking this positive step for your own health may help with depression.
  • Join a support group.
  • Spend time with supportive people, such as family members and friends.

If your mood swings or depression get very severe, or if you ever think about suicide, call your provider or the Veterans Crisis Line (1‑800‑273‑8255 and Press 1 or text to 838255) right away. No matter what you are experiencing, there is support for getting your life back on track.

Finding the right treatment for depression takes time — so does recovery. If you think you may be depressed, talk to your VA provider and seek help for depression.