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The prevention and management of mental health problems in children affected by HIV/AIDS

Published: 17 September 2009

Although there is currently an ongoing debate about the extent of the disadvantage faced by AIDS-orphans and HIV-affected children relative to other children in resource-limited settings, there is a substantial body of evidence demonstrating that AIDS-affected children often lack adequate food and shelter, have more trouble staying in school and accessing medical care, and are at high risk of economic exploitation and sexual abuse. Bereavement because of HIV/AIDS and related traumatic experiences during childhood may have long-lasting psychological consequences in some children— and may increase a child’s risk for becoming HIV-infected and having other serious trouble in life. However, while funding to provide basic social support for orphans and vulnerable children has increased in recent years, few settings are specifically addressing such children’s mental health needs.

By definition, a palliative care approach aims to alleviate the HIV-affected family, physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological suffering. In this palliative care clinic report, we try to make the case for the need for these services, and show how palliative care not only helps prepare children for bereavement and deal with grief, but also helps the family and community cope with the child’s other needs, addressing factors that increase the risk of mental health complications. In addition, we look at a number of interventions that are being piloted in some countries to manage post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders that may emerge in orphans and vulnerable children.

This review specifically highlights the problems that are common to being an orphan or vulnerable child in general, and does not address the problems that are unique to children infected with HIV. We hope to address these issues (including ‘disclosure’) in an upcoming HATIP.

 

HATIP #149, November 26th, 2009

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.