UNAIDS urges mental health service for HIV patients

NEWS DIGEST – Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, launched a new publication emphasising the importance of integrating HIV and mental health services for people living with HIV.

The publication is primarily intended for national and local policy-makers, and program implementers at all levels.

Meg Doherty, Director of the Global HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes at WHO, says the new publication successfully brings best practices, case studies, and guidelines to help countries integrate mental health and HIV services while improving access to care for the most vulnerable.

It noted that Mental health conditions increase the risk of HIV infection, and people living with HIV have an increased risk of mental health conditions.

“Mental health services are often not integrated into HIV service despite an increasing body of evidence showing that common mental health conditions, can be diagnosed and treated in low- and middle-income countries.”

“Integrated approaches for HIV and mental health lead to better health outcomes, overall well-being and quality of life,” said Dévora Kestel, Director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health.