Addressing the unmet mental health needs of people living with HIV: a scoping review of interventions in sub-Saharan Africa

John Bosco Chika Chukwuorji, Nwamaka Alexandra Ezeonu, Nnamdi Ude, Ijeoma Uchenna Itanyi, Ejemai Eboreime, Janice Y. Kung, Liz Dennett, John Olajide Olawepo, Theddeus Iheanacho, Amaka G. Ogidi, Anne F. Rositch, Bareng Aletta Sanny Nonyane, Judy Bass, Tunde Masseyferguson Ojo, Akudo Ikpeazu, Echezona E. Ezeanolue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some mental health interventions have addressed mental health among people living with HIV (PLWH) using a variety of approaches, but little is known about the details of such interventions in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a region that bears the largest burden of HIV in the world. The present study describes mental health interventions for PLWH in SSA regardless of the date and language of publication. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) reporting guidelines, we identified 54 peer-reviewed articles on interventions addressing adverse mental health conditions among PLWH in SSA. The studies were conducted in 11 different countries, with the highest number of studies in South Africa (33.3%), Uganda (18.5%), Kenya (9.26%), and Nigeria (7.41%). While only one study was conducted before the year 2000, there was a gradual increase in the number of studies in the subsequent years. The studies were mostly conducted in hospital settings (55.5%), were non-pharmacologic (88.9%), and interventions were mostly cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling. Task shifting was the primary implementation strategy used in four studies. Interventions addressing the mental health needs of PLWH that incorporates the unique challenges and opportunities in SSA is highly recommended.


  • Mental health
  • people living with HIV
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • task shifting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology


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