STOPAIDS collaborates with the HIV Quality of Life Partnership, an advocacy initiative to support integrated, person-centred and community-led interventions that optimise the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV globally. The HIV Quality of Life partnership champions QoL from a person-centred perspective and comprises of three core components:
- Prevention, care, support and treatment for HIV;
- Prevention, care, support and treatment for non-HIV-specific physical and mental health issues including sexual and reproductive health and rights and non communicable diseases;
- Wellbeing and wider social, cultural, political and economic rights.
The HIV Quality of Life Partnership is formed by STOPAIDS, GNP+, Frontline AIDS, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the NCD Alliance, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization and the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+ Global).
The overall aim of the HIV Quality of Life Partnership is to raise awareness of the importance of addressing and increasing funding for quality of life, for people living with HIV as part of efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and meet the SDGs which include achieving universal health coverage. In line with the three dimensions of quality of life, we have three areas of focus:
- Championing the role of person-centred and community-led initiatives to ensure people living with HIV receive high-quality treatment, care and psycho-social support for HIV and comorbidities.
- Pushing for better and more appropriate integration of health services to ensure people living with HIV receive high-quality prevention, care support and treatment for non-HIV-specific physical and mental health issues, including SRHR and NCDs.
- Ensuring that the wider social and economic aspects of quality of life, including social protection, housing, environmental health, education and migration status are included.
The HIV Quality of Life Partnership has promoted the quality of life concept in several key global processes including the UNAIDS Global HIV Strategy; the Global Fund strategy; and the UN Political Declaration from the HLM on HIV. Most recently, we have fed into the WHO Global Health Strategy for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections for (2022-2030).
For more information about The HIV Quality of Life Partnership contact Amina.
Multiple studies have documented the high burden of mental health problems among people living with HIV. A study found that 38%-63% of People living with HIV present with symptoms of depression. In a UK study, 31% of a group living with HIV reported suicidal thoughts in the previous seven days. Depression also affects carers and a study in South Africa found that 89% of AIDS-related home-based carers were depressed or showed signs of depression. Anxiety, stigma and bereavement are also prevalent. Children living with and affected by HIV experience serious psychosocial distress from having to take on care responsibilities for sick parents, younger siblings or losing one or both parents. The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in an increase in reports of mental health issues for people living with HIV.
Identifying mental health issues among people living with HIV is critical. Integrating mental health and HIV programming prevents new HIV infections and improves the health and wellbeing of people living with and affected by HIV. STOPAIDS believes that mental health provisions should be a vital part of HIV services globally. We have partnered with United for Global Mental Health to promote the inclusion of mental health in global health processes and promote the inclusion of mental health in HIV services/community programs.
Mental health services should ensure access to voluntary and confidential HIV testing and counselling for people who may be at increased risk of HIV. Primary healthcare providers must be trained to recognize and treat common mental health and substance use disorders and refer people to expert care. Beyond training, the health facility needs to be equipped to provide these services. e.g resources for follow-up treatment or referrals and medicines to manage their mental health issues, these need to be covered by the health system rather than out-of-pocket payments from patients.
Mental health services that should be integrated into HIV care include counselling services; treatment of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety; emotional and spiritual support; reduction of stigma and discrimination; support for positive health and dignity.