UN Aims To Integrate HIV/AIDS, Mental Health Services

UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have urged for a better integration of HIV/AIDS and mental healthcare services. They note that it would improve quality of life for those who suffer from them.

The call was made by the UN agencies in a publication that was launched on Monday.

They pointed that while patients who had mental health conditions are at higher risk of getting infected with HIV, individuals who do have HIV were also at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions.

Dévora Kestel, the Director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, said that, “Integrated approaches for HIV and mental health lead to better health outcomes, overall well-being and quality of life. In addition, such approaches don’t have to be expensive.”

Meg Doherty, the Director of the Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes at WHO, who was also featured in the publication said, “This new publication successfully brings together tools, best practices, case studies, and guidelines to help countries integrate mental health and HIV services while improving access to care for the most vulnerable. The publication is primarily intended for national and local policy-makers, and programme implementers at all levels.”

“Organisations working on provision of mental health and HIV services more broadly will also find it useful. Beyond HIV, the considerations in the publication may be relevant to services for HIV comorbidities such as tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and sexually-transmitted infections.”