Happy HIV patients ‘less infectious’, study claims: Scientists taught men 8 happiness techniques – and their viral load decreased

Happy HIV patients ‘less infectious’, study claims: Scientists taught men 8 happiness techniques – and their viral load decreased

Northwestern University taught 80 HIV-positive men eight happiness skills
They included keeping a note of good memories, doing small acts of kindness
The men continued with their anti-retroviral drugs during the trial
After 15 months, 91% of those men saw reduced viral load, compared with 76% of a control group who did not practice the so-called happiness techniques

HIV patients saw far greater reductions in their viral load after practicing happiness techniques for just 15 months, a groundbreaking new study claims.

It means at the end of the trial, participants were far less likely to develop AIDS, their virus was less infectious, and they were far less likely to use anti-depressants.

In the study, 80 HIV-positive men were taught eight skills to boost their positivity, including keeping a note of good memories and performing small acts of kindness – while continuing with anti-retroviral therapy.

Meanwhile, the researchers from Northwestern University also monitored another 79 men, who were taking anti-retroviral drugs but did not practice positivity techniques.

By the end of the trial, 91 percent of the men in the ‘happiness group’ saw a drop in their viral load, compared with 76 percent of men in the other group.

While anti-retroviral drugs can already reduce viral loads to the point of being untransmittable, the study has been hailed the first research to show the impact of mental health on physical health in HIV-positive patients.

The techniques were:

Recognize a positive event each day
Savor that positive event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it
Start a daily gratitude journal
List a personal strength each day and note how you used it recently
Set an attainable goal each day and note your progress
Report a relatively minor stressor each day, then list ways to positively reappraise it. This can lead to increased positive affect in the face of stress
Practice a small act of kindness and understand that it can have a big impact on positive emotion
Practice mindfulness with a daily 10-minute breathing exercise, concentrating on the breath

Read more: Happy HIV patients 'are less infectious' than others | Daily Mail Online
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