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Implications of the global mental health and the HIV syndemic on HIV prevention and care 

Implications of the global mental health and the HIV syndemic on HIV prevention and care
Chapter:
Implications of the global mental health and the HIV syndemic on HIV prevention and care
Author(s):

Joseph T. F. Lau

, Jinghua Li

, Rui She

, and Yoo Na Kim

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198792994.003.0037
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date: 28 March 2020

HIV is known as a ‘social disease’, as its transmission is attributable to risk behaviours which are influenced by cultural and psychosocial environments. It is important to consider the HIV syndemic, defined here as the co-occurrence of HIV and other illness/health conditions (e.g. mental health problems, substance use). Mental health problems are prevalent both among key populations for HIV prevention and people living with HIV (PLWH), and can influence HIV-related risk behaviours, interact synergistically, and compromise the effectiveness of HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Structural, interpersonal, and individual factors associated with mental health problems among PLWH, and the impact of such problems on HIV prevention, are discussed. Promising approaches, such as positive psychology interventions, are explored. Finally, gaps in current mental health interventions, services, and personnel are highlighted, to suggest areas for improvement. Mental health improvement in affected populations is a prerequisite of controlling the global HIV epidemic.

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