n African Journal of Psychiatry - Addressing psychosocial problems among persons living with HIV : review




The large number of persons living with HIV in Southern Africa has implications for mental health services for this population. Data have emerged in recent years showing that a substantial number of persons living with HIV also have mental health problems. Yet, the practice of routine screening for psychiatric disorders in the context of HIV care is controversial. Moreover, common mental health problems, if left undetected and untreated, may have severe consequences for adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), which in turn will likely lead to severe health consequences for patients. There are high costs associated with employing professional psychologists, counsellors, and social workers to provide psychosocial support to ART users. As a result, in many contexts lay counsellors and patient advocates have been employed as a less costly alternative. High standards of training of lay counsellors, as well as on-going supervision and support to patient advocates is necessary to ensure optimal outcomes/results.


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