-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Having a pet helps women
with HIV/AIDS cope with their condition and may also help those
with other chronic diseases, a new study says.
Researchers conducted 12 focus groups with 48 women with
HIV/AIDS to find out how they stay healthy. The women, whose
average age was 42, said that five social roles helped them manage
These roles included being: a pet owner; a mother/grandmother;
faith believer; an advocate and an employee.
The study also found that being stigmatized had a negative
impact because it prevented women from revealing their illness and
seeking out appropriate supports, the Case Western Reserve
University researchers said.
The finding about the benefits of being a pet owner was a
surprise, said study author and nursing instructor Allison
"Pets -- primarily dogs -- gave these women a sense of support and pleasure," Webel said in a university news release.
Speaking about their pets, one cat owner said, "She's going to
be right there when I'm hurting," while a dog owner said, "Dogs
know when you're in a bad mood ... she knows that I'm sick, and
everywhere I go, she goes. She wants to protect me."
Webel noted that the human and animal bond in healing and
therapy is receiving increasing recognition and more animals are
visiting nursing homes to connect to people with dementia, or
visiting children going through long hospital stays.
The study appears online in the January-February issue of
Women's Health Issues.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
living with HIV/AIDS.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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