HIV/AIDS continues to affect millions of people, with substantial morbidity and mortality being reported. Majority of those affected by the HIV pandemic reside in low- and middle-income settings (LMICs) such as those of sub-Saharan Africa. Of growing concern however, is the increasing number of young people infected with HIV. Currently, it is estimated that over 30% of all new HIV infections globally occur among youths. In Kenya, according to the 2016 report by the National AIDS Control Council, young people 15-24 years of age contributed over 50% of adult new HIV infections in 2015.
Mental, neurological and substance use (M-N-S) disorders, substantial contributors to the global burden of disease, are common and important comorbid conditions of concern among individuals living with HIV including young people. M-N-S disorders co-occurring with HIV have been associated with increased risk for suicidality, antiretroviral non- adherence, poor quality of life, propensity for risk taking behaviour and adverse health behaviour (e.g. smoking or sedentary lifestyle). Plausible explanations of why these disorders may be common among individuals living with HIV/AIDS include: i) the psychological effects and/or difficulties of living with a chronic, life-threatening, and highly stigmatized illness; and ii) the direct effect of HIV virus on central nervous system causing behavioural changes that manifest as mental disturbance.
In general, research on M-N-S disorders has largely focused on the adult population living with HIV. Mental health of young people living with HIV remains neglected, more so in LMICs. With the current sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3 that seek to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, addressing mental health of young people living with HIV is paramount. In the context of HIV/AIDS, understanding youth’s mental health, and developing youth friendly services to address arising mental issues may lead to healthier and productive lives. There is no health without youth mental health.
Question to be addressed by interns:
- What is the prevalence of common mental disorders (depression and anxiety) among young people, 10 -24 years, living with HIV from low- and middle-income countries?
- What is the prevalence of substance use disorders (alcohol and drug abuse) among young people, 10 -24 years, living with HIV from low- and middle-income countries?
- What are the risk factors for common mental disorders and substance use disorders in young people living with HIV from low- and middle-income countries?
Skills to be acquired by intern
- Review of the literature, systematic synthesis and reporting of data
- Use of endnote as a data manager
- Meta-analytic skills
- Manuscript preparation
Prefered training background of required intern
- Bachelor’s degree in Nursing or Public Health
Application deadline: 11 February 2019