Introduction

People living with HIV often experience feelings of depression. That may be difficult, but the good news is that – with a bit of help – you may be able to change that. ‘Living positive with HIV’ is an online self-help program especially designed to help you do that. The program aims to help you find better ways to deal with having HIV and to improve your mood. Previous research has shown that the program is effective.

Feelings of depression

When you have HIV, you have to deal with a chronic condition and you have to take medication. Some people experience pain and fatigue or side effects from the antiretroviral drugs. HIV may also negatively impact your social life – for instance, some people experience relationship problems, discrimination or isolation. Experiences like this can cause a person with HIV to have negative emotions. You can recognize these feelings by, among other things, a sad mood, a tendency to withdraw or a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy. The self-help program on this website aims to help you work on these feelings.

The self-help program

The self-help program provides you with tools to help you deal with negative emotions. The self-help program has four key components: starting new activities, improving relaxation, changing negative thoughts and working towards concrete, personal goals. The online self-help program can be followed at home (it can be accessed from a computer or tablet) at times that suit you. There will be a weekly phone call with a coach to check how you are doing. There are eight lessons in which you learn different skills by reading information and doing assignments. The program runs for about eight weeks and takes one to two hours each week.

Is this online self-help program something for me?

An online self-help program is a good fit for you if you like to work independently on assignments to improve your mood, with support from a coach over the phone. An advantage of an online program is that you can complete the assignments at times and places that suit you. It is, however, important to have enough time to follow the program – about one to two hours a week. This program is intended for adults aged 18 and over who have been living with HIV for longer than six months. You will need to have a computer or tablet and an internet connection. You can follow the program in Dutch or English, and no costs are involved. None of your information or answers will be shared or used for research purposes. Following the program is completely anonymous.

Questionnaire

The short questionnaire below contains nine questions about symptoms and problems relating to feelings of depression. Completing the questionnaire will not give you a diagnosis, but it will provide an estimate of how depressed you feel. After you have filled in the questionnaire, you will get an advice. You can use the advice to decide if the self-help program is something for you. 

Fill in the questionnaire: How depressed am I? 

Contact

If you have any questions, or if you would like to receive more information about the online self-help program, please send an e-mail to livingpositive@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

Registration

In short, the online self-help program is a good fit for you if you:

  • would like to work independently on your feelings of depression, with the support of a coach.
  • like the idea of being able to work on the program at times and places that suit you.
  • have enough time available: about one to two hours a week, for eight weeks.
  • are aged 18 or over.
  • have had HIV for longer than six months.
  • have access to a computer, laptop or tablet with an internet connection.
  • read and understand Dutch or English to a good standard.

After reading the information and filling in the questionnaire, would you like to take part in the self-help program? You can register here. We will call you as soon as possible, and in any case within two weeks. 

Register