Toward the integration of comprehensive mental health services in HIV care: An assessment of psychiatric morbidity among HIV-positive individuals in sub-Saharan Africa
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Existing evidence from research supports the desirability of integration of mental health services into HIV care in order to mitigate the grave consequences of unattended mental health morbidity among People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). This study aims to find out the burden and pattern of psychiatric disorders that is prevalent among HIV-positive individuals attending a Nigerian-based HIV clinic. The study participants, consisting of 295 HIV-positive adults were recruited using systematic random sampling method. The participants were subjected to questionnaire to elicit demographic profile and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) to screen for probable psychiatric disorders. This was followed by Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Non patient (SCID-NP) to diagnose the presence of psychiatric morbidity in any of the participant with a GHQ-28 score ≥5 and 10% of those with GHQ-28 score <5. Data were analyzed with SPSS 17. Of the 295 participants interviewed, approximately one-quarter (25.1%) of the participants had diagnosable psychiatric illness based on SCID-NP. Depression was the commonest mental disorder detected as 44 (14.9%) met the DSM-IV Axis 1 diagnosis of major depressive disorders. Anxiety disorders, concurrent Nicotine with Alcohol dependence and cannabis abuse were elicited in 24 (8.1%), 4 (1.3%), and 2 (0.7%) participants, respectively. This study finds a higher burden of psychiatric disorders in PLWHA in comparison to what is obtainable in the general population based on previous research works in similar context. Thus further underscores the need for integration of comprehensive psychiatric services into HIV care. We advocate the support and commitment of key stakeholders in HIV care to the translation of this research-based evidence into practice among PLWHA.
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