14% of people living with HIV are depressed Report

Fourteen per cent of people living with HIV in Uganda suffer from depression with Masaka toping among districts with such communities, a new report released by the Uganda Virus Research Institute and Medical Research Council reveals.

Depression is a mental illness characterised by excessive sadness, loss of interest in formally pleasurable activities, poor concentration and loss of appetite among others.

Prof Eugene Kinyanda, the Head of Mental Health Focus at the Medical Research Council Unit in Uganda, says out of the 500 people who were observed during the study in Wakiso, Masaka and Mpigi districts, it was found that 19.4 per cent of those from Masaka were suffering from depression while Entebbe had 8%.

He says the study further indicated that depression also has faster HIV disease progression and poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV/AIDS.

Officiating at the release of the study findings, Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the Executive Director at the Uganda Virus Research Institute, underscored the need to integrate mental health treatment related services in HIV/AIDS care centres.

“We hope the results will improve our management of depression not only in Uganda but also in other African countries where management of mental health is really behind,” he said.

Currently, it is estimated that 1.5 million people in Uganda are living with HIV/AIDS.

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