WHEN we think of HIV/Aids we immediately think of the physical impact of the illness such as weight loss, fever, headaches, muscle aches, joint pains, sore throat, rash. What is often not taken into consideration are the mental health problems associated with the diagnosis and medication side effects because infected individuals are likely to experience depression, anxiety, panic, or even suicidal thoughts.In commemoration of World Aids Day the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is raising awareness on the psychological effects of HIV/Aids. “HIV/Aids affects body and mind and we often ignore the effect on the latter. We need to focus on the effects of a person’s emotions and thoughts. “With HIV/Aids, in the same way that keeping the body healthy is important. so is keeping the mind healthy,” said psychologist, Zamo Mbele.Through the Sadag Friday Facebook chat Mbele helped those living with the virus work through their psychological challenges of depression and anxiety. “Most people aren’t aware that HIV/Aids and depression often occur together in those who live with the virus,” said Mbhele.Sadag offered the following steps to deal with depression. • Talk about your feelings with your doctor, friends, family members, or other supportive people. • Seek mental health therapy. • Learn more about HIV/Aids and depression. • Avoid drug and alcohol use. • Follow a healthy diet. • Manage physical and emotional health problems. • Follow doctor’s orders about your prescriptions. • Find activities that relieve your stress, such as exercise or hobbies. • Get enough sleep each night to help you feel rested. • Learn relaxation methods such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. • Join a support group. - Supplied.