A community resource guide for people living with HIV/AIDS in western Montana
Brucker, Katrina Lin.
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The number of people becoming infected with HIV has surpassed the number of people who die each year with HIV/AIDS in the United States. In the past decade there has been an increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS diagnoses among rural populations. As of June 2011, there were 532 known cases of people living with HIV in Montana. A literature review was preformed to better understand the needs of rural dwelling people living with HIV/AIDS in Montana. Specifically, needs related to improving psychological, social, and emotional health and ultimately overall quality of life. Once common needs were identified for improving quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS, a community resource guide was created. Resources were gathered through an Internet search and interviews with professionals who work with people living with HIV/AIDS in Montana. The need for community resources for people living with HIV/AIDS has been increasingly recognized as this population lives longer. While medications continue to be developed, the mental health and well-being also needs to be addressed. It has been recognized that rural dwelling people living with HIV/AIDS have a unique set of needs related to the potential for social isolation. Lack of community resources and community involvement has been shown to have a direct negative correlation on outcomes of PLWHA in rural areas. Current research shows that access to community resources and social interaction can lead to better physical and mental health outcomes for rural dwelling people living with HIV/AIDS.