Schizophrenia and HIV

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hello. I am currently diagnosed with paranoid Schizophrenia and suspect that I might have HIV. I have noticed a swing in energy and symptoms lately, and wonder if it can have something to do with HIV since ive been stabile for a long time, and the change seems weird. i am going in therapy and got the help i need. my question is if it have been done any research on how HIV can affect Schizophrenia, or if it doesn’t affect it at all. i know that many thing that normal people dont notice can crash with a schizophrenia, giving side effects. i got real messed up by a polio shot once for instance, and many drugs can work differently too. But is this the case with HIV ?

A. You believe that you may have HIV but the only evidence to support your belief is that you have noticed a “swing” in your energy levels. Outside of a change in your energy levels, there doesn’t seem to be any other reason to believe that you have HIV.

There are many reasons, potentially hundreds of reasons, for why you are experiencing a change in energy levels. Age, amount of daily sleep, hormonal changes, level of exercise, medication changes, are just a few of the many possible reasons your energy levels may fluctuate.

In the absence of any other symptoms, it’s unclear why you have focused on HIV as a possibility. To the best of my knowledge, there is no correlation between schizophrenia and HIV. In the absence of symptoms to support a HIV diagnosis and without medical testing it is unrealistic to believe that you have the disease.

You could easily determine if you have HIV by being tested. It might make you feel better if you knew the definitive truth about whether or not you have HIV.

It’s possible that your fears about HIV are indicative of paranoia, which is a symptom of schizophrenia. I would recommend speaking with your therapist about your fears and with your primary care physician. They could assist you in determining what might be wrong with your energy levels and help you locate an HIV testing center, if necessary. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Schizophrenia and HIV. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/10/24/schizophrenia-and-hiv/