The cumulative number of HIV-positive individuals reported at the end of October 2007 was 223 501, including 62 838 cases of AIDS and 22 205 recorded deaths . There are an estimated 700 000 people with HIV infection, most of whom have latent disease and are unregistered at Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCs) or hospitals, which is a real challenge for Chinese health service providers and policy makers. Under the policy of ‘free medical treatment and care’, which was adopted by the
Chinese government to help AIDS patients in 2003, more than 40 000 AIDS patients nationwide had begun antiretroviral therapy (ART) by the end of 2007 [1,2]. The free ART provides real hope of long-term survival to HIV-infected individuals and has had a great impact on AIDS control in China [2–4]. However, long-term selleck inhibitor treatment success requires not only access to medical care, but high rates of medication adherence. Some research has found that the success of ART in treating
HIV infection is limited by inadequate adherence [5–8]. The main barriers to adherence are stigma, mental health difficulties (including www.selleckchem.com/products/LBH-589.html depression, anxiety and isolation), and economic worries [6,9]. Hence, the psychological status of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and the social environment they face could be as important as ART in successful treatment of AIDS. In recent research, Sabina et al.  found that some AIDS patients are even more concerned about the stigma and discrimination that they and their families face and about others’ attitude than they are about ART and the status of their illness. PLWHA need a broad range of psychological and social support . Accurately evaluating the mental
health of PLWHA will benefit AIDS care and improve these individuals’ quality of life. Currently, national efforts in China are focused on ART and management of opportunistic infections. However, mental health is as important as ART in the well-being of PLWHA and will affect the results of ART dramatically. The psychological status of PLWHA has not been well studied in China, especially in eastern China. The existing research is focused on provinces where HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent, such as Henan Province Digestive enzyme and Yunnan Province [5,7–9]. Zhejiang Province, which is a more developed region of China, is an economically active province with a strong tourism industry and a high number of migrant workers. Its social attitudes and lifestyle are different from those of the provinces where HIV infection is highly prevalent, especially in rural areas. To investigate the psychological status of PLWHA (or more precisely HIV-positive individuals) and their psychosocial environment in eastern China, we conducted research in Zhejiang Province, the results of which may be of value to policy makers and health service providers who serve the needs of HIV-positive individuals.