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NIMH at the XIX International AIDS Conference, July 22-27, 2012, Washington, DC

Addressing Mental Disorders: The Missing Link to Effective HIV Prevention, Care, Treatment and Support
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 from 6:30-8:30pm in Session Room 4

Coordinating Organizations: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Global Affairs and the National Institute of Mental Health  
Supporting Organizations: Health Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, U.S. Agency for International Development, the New York/New Jersey AIDS Education and Training Center, the United Nations’ UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization

Presenters: Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Dixon Chibanda, Francine Cournos, Randy Jackson, Ilana Lapidos-Salaiz, Melissa Sharer, and Milton Wainberg

   XIX International AIDS Conference, July 22-27, 2012, Washington DC

A session devoted to the ten facts you need to know about mental health and HIV:

1. Five out of 10 of the most disabling illnesses in the world are mental illnesses. Depression tops the list at number one for both adults and adolescents. Other illnesses among the most disabling are alcohol use disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.

2. According to the World Health Organization, severe depression and active psychosis are more disabling than AIDS. It is also more disabling than conditions such as congestive heart failure and the neurological complications of malaria.

3. People living with HIV frequently experience mental illness. Depression is the most common mental disorder and is present in 30%-50% of people living with HIV.

4. People living with HIV and chronic depression have a two times greater risk of dying than people living with HIV who are not depressed. This has been demonstrated through studies in both the U.S. and Tanzania.

5. Depression is associated with inability to access HIV care and treatment. Conversely, research has shown that people living with both HIV and depression who were treated with antidepressants were more likely than untreated people to receive appropriate HIV care.

6. Depression and co-occurring alcohol/substance use disorders are associated with failure to adhere to treatment once it has been started. Research has indicated that cognitive depressive symptoms and severe depression pose strong challenges to HIV treatment adherence and call for the need for early detection and treatment of depression.

7. Depression and many other mental illnesses, including co-occurring alcohol and substance use disorders, can be successfully screened for and treated. Screening for mental illnesses in HIV care and primary care settings provides the opportunity to detect and treat them to promote improved health and wellness among people living with HIV.

8. Treatments for mental illnesses compare favorably to treatments for other chronic diseases. Successful treatments for mental illness include medications and psychotherapies.

9. Psychosocial support is very helpful for people living with HIV. When combined with other treatments, psychosocial support can improve the quality of life for people living with HIV and AIDS.

10. Adherence to medication for depression is associated with increased CD4 cell counts and decreased viral load.

Learn about how mental health interventions can be provided in HIV care and primary care settings. Please be advised only those who have registered for the XIX International AIDS Conference can attend this satellite.

For questions or more information, please contact Jude Awuba at or 301-443-9650.

More information available .