Study: Can MBSR help HIV-positive people who have acute stress?

A recent study followed a group of Iranians living with HIV over a period of a year. After following MBSR training, participants had an increase in CD4—a common marker used to track immune function and HIV progression.

The study’s objective was to evaluate how effective Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) would be on the patients’ biological and symptomatological markers of health.

According to Mindfulness Research Monthly (MRM), “stress acts through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and other endocrine signaling systems to influence the immune system.” So acute and chronic psychosocial stress can be expecially harmful to people who are HIV-positive (and have compromised immune systems). The participants involved in the study are said to often encounter “stigma and related stress.”

The participants’ CD4 returned to baseline level by 12 months.

Results were published in Psychosomatic Medicine. Read the abstract here. For more about the study via MRM, click here.