Among people dealing with HIV disease, mental health – depression, anxiety, substance abuse – is often under-treated or even overlooked. Physicians may assume "that if someone's T-cell or viral load numbers are good, they must be feeling well. I wish that were the case, but it isn’t," she observes. Diagnosis can be frustrating, especially separating mental health symptoms from physically caused symptoms or drug side effects. However, Dr. Capaldini sees most mental health issues as readily treatable, and treatment may dramatically improve the quality of life for the poz patient.
Dr. Capaldini has practiced HIV medicine in San Francisco's Castro district – one of the epidemic's hardest-hit areas – since 1988, where she has seen HIV infection evolve from a death watch to the sometimes challenging task of living. Quality of life – mental well-being, as well as physical health – has become a focus of her work. Alongside her patients on the long HIV road, she believes her job "is to inquire about the bumps, even if the person’s not complaining about them."
In addition to being a doctor, a registered nurse, and an expert in public health – RN, MD, MPH – she is also assistant clinical professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, one of the world's premier centers for AIDS research, where she has been involved in numerous projects alongside other leading names in the field. Dr. Capaldini abundantly shares her knowledge and experience in the literature and at conferences for both professionals and consumers. The event will be Thursday, Oct. 30, from 5 to 7pm at AIDS Services of Austin, 7215 Cameron (just north of St. Johns). The dinner-presentation is free, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-6118.
Community Education Coordinator, AIDS Services of Austin
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