We wish to provide space for the whole person, because we believe, that a holistic treatment helps the patients to live the best life possible with their disease.
Our research in holistic treatment is based on nearly 30 years of experience with HIV patients, where a clear correlation between the patients’ mental and physical condition has shown. The pills are needed to survive HIV, but the medication it self is not enough, and there is a need to involve the whole life of the patient in the overall treatment.
A holistic approach addresses both the physical, psychological and social aspect of the disease, and can both improve HIV patients’ quality of life and reduce the risk of the disease developing.
Patients diagnosed with HIV will sooner or later have to take medication to prevent developing AIDS. Although one is able to control the virus and live a long life on today’s medication, most HIV patients experience the disease as a radical change.
To many HIV patients the psychological and social challenges are the hardest thing to live with when they get the diagnosis. It can be difficult to recognize that you have a chronic illness, if you feel healthy. At the same time, HIV is still associated with prejudice, taboo and stigmatization, and many patients have difficulty living openly with the disease in fear of the reactions of family, friend and coworkers.
Studies show that HIV patients have an increased risk of developing depression, which can have serious consequences for their ability to follow their medical treatment. When you suffer from depression, there is a greater risk of forgetting to take your medication that usually must be taken at specific times each day. If the treatment is not followed properly, the patient can develop resistance to the medication, and it can make the viral load rise with the risk of the disease developing.
Persons who are infected with HIV have different resources and views of health and disease. Therefore they react very differently to the disease, but some reaction patterns recur. The diagnosis will for most people mean that they are brought out of balance for a while. In the beginning, many find it difficult to accept the diagnosis. Next many HIV infected react by being angry or sad, and after a while they regain balance and return to the life they had before the diagnosis, even though life will not be quite the same. Some patients find it difficult to regain balance in life. Living with HIV is not static but a dynamic process, and most people experience periods of imbalance and the need of support and guidance.
The purpose of integrating the psychosocial aspect in our HIV treatment is to help as many patients as possible into the stage where they discover that they are actually able to do something themselves to get better, and that they have the resources. You cannot make the virus disappear, but you can influence how you want to live your own life. It is about being aware of behaviors that cause stress and learn to tackle various stress triggers.
The prerequisite for this is to involve the patient in the treatment and start with the life and preferences of each patient.
Prof., dr.med. Lars Østergaard
Tlf: 78 45 28 00
Fax: 78 45 28 04
MPH, PhD, Lektor Lotte Ørneborg Rodkjær
Tlf: 78 45 28 40