This study examined the prevalence of acute stress reactions to recent life events among persons living with HIV/AIDS. A second aim was to investigate the relationship of acute stress reactions among HIV-infected men and women to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms to previous traumatic life events.Participants included 64 HIV-seropositive persons (33 men and 31 women) drawn from a larger study examining the effects of group therapy on quality of life and health behavior. These individuals were assessed at baseline on demographic and medical status characteristics and (PTSD) symptoms andthen randomly assigned to either receive group therapy plus education or education alone. Three months later they were assessed for acute stress reactions to recent life events.Nearly a third (31.3 percent) of the participants reported levels of acute stress reactions to recent life events that met all symptom criteria for the diagnosis of acute stress disorder. However, only 9.4 percent of the respondents described a recent stressful life event that was threatening to the life or physical integrity of themselves or others. Acute stress reactions to recent life events were significantly and positively related to experiencing PTSD symptoms to prior traumatic life events. Acute stress did not differ significantly by gender, AIDS status, or whether or not participants had received 12 weeks of group therapy.A subset of individuals with HIV/AIDS experience high levels of acute stress reactivity to life events considered non-traumatic. HIV-infected individuals who react strongly to ongoing life stressors are more likely to have developed PTSD symptoms in response to previous traumatic life events.
View details for Web of Science ID 000183005200005
View details for PubMedID 12779186