n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - Common mental disorders in people living with HIV / AIDS : clinical : overview

Volume 10, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



The term 'common mental disorders' is an overarching term for conditions that affect a significant number of people in the community. These conditions include depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. In contrast, so-called 'severe mental illnesses' (such as schizophrenia or bipolar mood disorder) are conditions that usually require admission for inpatient treatment and tend both to recur and to be chronically debilitating. Nonetheless, common mental disorders result in a considerable burden to the individual, their families, the community and the economy. Many people with these conditions do not present for treatment, or if they do they usually present to primary care facilities, where these diagnoses are often missed. This is unfortunate, since there is good evidence that these disorders can be effectively treated and that much of this treatment can be provided by primary care clinicians.

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