The impact of integrating mental health services on HIV and TB outcomes
It is increasingly acknowledged that mental health is a risk factor for HIV and TB and can negatively impact on the course of the disease and treatment, and that living with HIV and/ or TB is a significant risk factor for a decline in an individual’s mental health and developing psychiatric illness.
The findings of United For Global Mental Health’s research demonstrate what has been long suspected: integrating basic mental health and psychosocial services into HIV and TB programmes will not only help millions of vulnerable people with ill mental health, but contribute to ending these pandemics much quicker, it does not need to be expensive.
The research shows that between now and 2030 it would:
• Speed up the reduction of HIV infections by 10-17%
• Speed up the reduction of TB infections by 13 – 20%
• See almost 1 million people avoid contracting HIV – the equivalent to the total number of new infections currently predicted for 2026
• Avoid as many as 14 million TB infections – more than the total number of global TB infections in any given year
• Integrating mental health treatment does not need to be expensive
and it is certainly cost-effective: evidence shows benefits outweigh the investment required; while integration may not increase the cost of treatment.
To launch the report, United For Global Health and Frontline AIDS hosted a panel discussion exploring both the needs and benefits of integrating mental health into HIV responses, and laying out fresh finding into the savings that could be made by making mental health a key part of HIV and TB programmes. Panelists included STOPAIDS’ Director Mike Podmore. You can find a recording here.