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Stress management may help avert HIV progression. (Randomized Trial).

PHOENIX, ARIZ. -- HIV-infected patients who participated in a 10-week cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention had significantly lower viral loads than those who did not, Jeffrey M, Greeson reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.

In a randomized, controlled trial at the University of Miami, 54 HIV-positive patients were given a 10-week group course in cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) or a control course involving a brief psychoeducational seminar on the concepts of stress management and the importance of medication compliance. The patients included men and women, aged 18-55 years, who were in the middle stages of HIV infection, typically 6-7 years after diagnosis.

The intervention was intended to bring about changes in the patients' cognition, perception, and appraisal of stressful situations. The CBSM group was taught adaptive coping skills, relaxation skills, ways of developing an increased sense of control and of social support, and how to assess threatening versus benign situations, said Mr. Greeson, a graduate student who worked on the study with Neil Schneiderman, Ph.D.

Patients in the CBSM group showed no changes in viral load, while patients in the control group showed a threefold increase in viral load over the 10 weeks of the study Patients in the CBSM group also showed significant decreases in certain types of CD8 cells.

On the other hand, there were no significant differences between groups in the total number of T cells, helper T cells, B cells, or natural killer cells. Also, no significant differences were seen between groups in functional immune measures, including natural killer cell cytotoxicity and T-cell proliferation.
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Author:Finn, Robert
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 15, 2003
Words:261
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