HIV and mental health

Juliet Bennett
Independent Nurse Advisor

Abstract
Despite advances in HIV medicine people living with HIV (PLWH) continue to face many challenges. These include successfully adhering to treatment recommendations to maintain optimal health, negotiating disclosure of HIV status and coping with living with a stigmatised condition, all of which can impact on mental health and wellbeing. Pre-existing mental health difficulties can amplify these challenges. The co-occurrence of HIV and mental illness poses a significant public health problem and represents a challenge for healthcare professionals (HCPs) working in this field. In order to effectively identify and meet the mental health needs for PLWH vigilance, knowledge and enhanced communication skills from nurses are required.
Keywords: mental health, HIV, nurse, healthcare professionals