• Ashraf Kagee Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.



Increasingly, mental health professionals, including psychologists, counsellors and social workers, are called upon to assist persons living with HIV to negotiate the mental health consequences of their condition. It has been suggested that serious mental health consequences following diagnosis with HIV are likely to occur and that developing countries may be “heading towards a mental health and social disaster” (Freeman, 2004). Freeman (2004) has identified various categories of persons affected by HIV who may experience psychological difficulties, including those recently diagnosed with HIV. Among recently diagnosed persons, it is thought that several psychiatric conditions may ensue, namely major depressive disorder (Gore-Felton, Koopman, Spiegel, Vosvick, Brondino & Winningham, 2006), generalised anxiety disorder (Pence, Miller, Whetten, Eron & GaGaynes, 2006) and posttraumatic stress disorder (Myers & Durvasula, 1999; Martinez, Israelski, Walker & Koopman, 2002; Olley, Zeier, Seedat & Stein, 2005). This article examines some theoretical concerns regarding the viability of a diagnosis of PTSD for persons who have received a diagnosis of HIV in terms of its implications for mental health counselling.


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