High prevalence of mental health problems among PLHIV in Nigeria
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) in collaboration with the GEDE Foundation has released results of research regarding mental health issues in people living with HIV. According to it there is high prevalence of depression, suicide and alcohol abuse among People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Nigeria.
All participants were drawn from the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Asokoro District Hospital and Garki Hospital, all in Abuja and were receiving second-line anti-retroviral drugs.
Data after investigators conducted 1187 interviews showed that one out of three PLHIV experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, one out of 12 PLHIV engaged in harmful alcohol use and three out of 100 PLHIV had attempted suicide.
The researchers concluded that that mental health issues are very common among HIV patients, particularly alcohol use among women. The report states that special training of health professionals is needed to address the mental health needs of PLHIV.
The Managing Director of GEDE Foundation, Mr John Minto said that his foundation is working with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to ensure that mental illness is included in the country’s HIV and AIDS National Strategic Framework.