HIV/AIDS and Mental Health Project

Lead Research Organisation: MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS


Results from this project will document the burden of mental health complications associated with HIV/AIDS in the Ugandan situation, and will determine whether there is a need to add interventions against psychiatric conditions to the current package of HIV/AIDS treatment and care. This project will also provide data on which interventions for mental health complications of HIV/AIDS are likely to be effective in the Ugandan environment. Furthermore, the research will establish whether persons with mental illness are more vulnerable than others to become HIV infected, and whether there is a need to make special efforts towards providing HIV prevention and care services for people with chronic mental disorders.

Technical Summary

This project will establish whether the assessment of psychiatric complications of HIV/AIDS should become part of the routine care procedures for people with HIV/AIDS in an area of sub Saharan Africa that is marked by an advanced HIV epidemic; and if so which interventions for psychiatric complications in HIV/AIDS are likely to be effective in this socio-cultural setting. The risk of HIV/AIDS in persons with chronic mental illness, a hitherto neglected vulnerable group, will also be documented; highlighting the need for HIV prevention and care in this sub-population.||This project comprises four sub-studies. The first assesses the prevalence and risk factors of psychiatric disorders amongst HIV infected people in Uganda. The second looks at the incidence and correlates of suicidality among HIV positive persons. The third sub-study investigates the clinical features of depression, comparing HIV positive and HIV negative psychiatric patients. The fourth examines the prevalence, correlates and outcomes of HIV infection among people with psychiatric disorders.


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Title Adaptation of the Attitudes to Suicide Scale (ATTS) by Ellinor Salander Renberg 
Description Following our research, this tool was found to have a different factor structure in Uganda compared to Sweden and Norway. We have now undertaken to adapt it for the Ugandan situation. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Ongoing validation in Uganda 
Description EfA Consortium 
Organisation London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The MRC/UVRI was a partner in the EfA Consortium a DFID funded RPC that run from 2007 to 2010. Through this partnership that involved the LSHTM I was able to establish and initially fund the Mental Health project at the MRC/UVRI
Collaborator Contribution Colleagues from the LSHTM provided professional support in establishing the Mental Health Project
Impact Outputs 1) Establishment of the MRC/UVRI Mental Health Project 2) Undertook a study on the prevalence, risk factors of psychiatric disorders among adults with HIV/AIDS 3) 3 Publications from this work: 3.1 Nakku J, Kinyanda E, Hoskins S: Prevalence and factors associated with probable HIV dementia in an African population: A cross-sectional study of an HIV/AIDS clinic population. BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:126 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-126. 3.2 Kinyanda E, Hoskins S, Nakku J, Nawaz S, Patel V.The prevalence and characteristics of suicidality in HIV/AIDS as seen in an African population in Entebbe district, Uganda. BMC Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 18;12(1):63. 3.3 Kinyanda E, Hoskins S, Nakku J, Nawaz S, Patel V. Prevalence and risk factors of major depressive disorder in HIV/AIDS as seen in semi-urban Entebbe district, Uganda. BMC Psychiatry. 2011 Dec 30;11:205.
Start Year 2007
Description Press Conference at the Ministry of health HQ 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press conference at which both electronic and print media were invited to discuss the issue of the growing problem of suicide in the country.

Better reporting by the press on the causes and possible preventive measures for suicide.
Since that meeting and the subsequent press coverage there has been a noticeable reduction of suicides among the armed forces and police.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008