Susan Folkman

Informal caregivers

Are Informal Caregivers Important in AIDS Care?

What do caregivers do?

Informal caregivers of people with AIDS (PWAs) provide practical help and nursing care at home. They are often the lovers, spouses, friends, or family of someone with AIDS and are not professional care providers. The service they provide is essential to the scope of AIDS care services and saves society great expense. AIDS care services in the US have shifted from hospital-based care to community-based and in-home care.

Stress and Coping in Gay Male Caregivers of Men with AIDS

Traditionally, responsibility for providing care in the home for people with serious illness has fallen to women as wives, mothers, or daughters of the afflicted individual. Among the many societal repercussions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been the creation of a new group of caregivers—gay men who are the primary caregivers for their partners with AIDS. In the 1980s and early 1990s, before the advent of protease inhibitors and the new antiretroviral treatments, AIDS was a pernicious, essentially uncontrollable terminal illness that manifested horrendous opportunistic infections.

The CHANGES Project: Coping Effectiveness Training for HIV+ gay men

HIV+ persons confront a unique set of challenges and chronic stressors, including stigmatization, alienation from family and friends, complex treatment regimens, and, often, debilitating side effects as they attempt to manage the psychologic and physiological consequences of their condition. For persons living with HIV, elevated distress and low social support take on added importance because they can accelerate disease progression. Helping HIV+ people to reduce stress and adhere to their medical care may in turn help to reduce their risky behavior.

Balance Project: A Randomized Clinical Trial of an HIV Treatment Side Effects Coping Intervention

The Balance Project is a randomized controlled trial that tests a counseling intervention to help HIV+ men and women achieve an active role in their health care. The intervention is designed to help individuals cope with the challenges of taking medications, deal with side effects, and maintain an active collaboration with their health care providers. We enrolled 250 HIV+ adults taking antiretroviral medications, and will evaluate the impact of the intervention on quality of life and medication adherence. This study involves two phases:
  • Phase 1.