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Making a case for the integration of mental health screening into HIV care

Source: Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Screening for Traumatic Experiences and Mental Health Distress Among Women in HIV Care in Cape Town, South Africa

“Traumatic events can negatively affect clinical outcomes among HIV positive women, particularly when those events result in ongoing psychological distress. Consequently, there have been calls to integrate screening and treatment of traumatic experiences and associated mental health disorders into HIV care. In South Africa, screening for traumatic experiences and mental health is not a routine part of HIV care. […]

Participants [of this study] almost unanimously agreed that it would be appropriate and acceptable to screen all women in the clinic setting for trauma and mental health symptoms. […]

The high prevalence of traumatic experiences and psychological distress in this study highlights an urgent need to integrate screening into routine HIV care. The study provides evidence of the acceptability of screening for trauma and mental health symptoms among HIV positive women, at the critical points of care engagement when they are initiating ART or have defaulted on ART. In addition, there is need to link women screened to interventions and services, as part of trauma informed HIV care.”

Full text available on Sage Journals

 

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