Gede is delighted to recognise the inclusion of mental health into the National HIV-AIDS Strategic Framework 2017-2021 in Nigeria. The Framework, produced by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), represents the input of a wide range of stakeholders including Gede, which worked as the Co Chair of NACA’s Technical Sub Committee regarding the integration of mental health into HIV-AIDS care and support. Gede’s just published (by BMC Public Health https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4467-5) Prevalence Study into depression, suicidality and alcohol use disorder among people living with HIV-AIDS in Nigeria has also played a part in raising awareness about key issues.
The goal of the Strategic Framework is to “fast track the national response towards ending AIDS in Nigeria by 2030” and, importantly, includes a strategic intervention to, “integrate nutritional assessment, counselling and services, mental health, sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial services into routine care for PLHIV”.
NACA is to be congratulated on including mental health into the Strategic Framework as research has shown that mental illnesses such as depression have a significant impact on HIV treatment engagement, adherence and retention and also play a key role in general health seeking behaviour.