Mental health problems experienced by HIV postive adoloscents: a case of Choma district, Zambia
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This study aimed to determine the Mental Health Problems experienced by HIV positive adolescents in Choma District. A cross sectional descriptive study design involving both quantitative and qualitative approaches was used to conduct the study. Using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), data was obtained from 103 HIV positive adolescents receiving treatment at Choma General Hospital. Information about mental health services was obtained qualitatively from 10 nurses working in the mental health unit and the Antiretroviral clinic. Systematic random sampling was used to select the adolescents while the nurses were selected conveniently. Data was analysed using SPSS version 22 and Chi square test was employed to establish the relationship between independent and dependent variables. Responses from the semi structured interview were analysed qualitatively in terms of common themes. The results showed that more than three quarters of the adolescents had mental health problems as revealed by both the Self rated SDQ (85.4%) and the Parent rated SDQ (62.5%). Of this number, 57.3 percent had multiple mental health problems predominantly emotional and peer problems. The study also found a statistically significant relationship between level of stigma and presence of mental health problems (X² = 1.123, P = 0.003). In conclusion the study demonstrated that multiple mental health problems are prevalent among adolescents with HIV/AIDS in Choma District yet are most often undiagnosed. In addition, adolescents with high levels of internalized stigma are more likely to have multiple mental health problems. The findings suggest need to integrate psychiatric services into routine care of HIV infected adolescents, routine screening of adolescents for mental health problems using validated tools and provision of continued professional development related to mental health so that nurses are able to correctly assess, diagnose and manage these problems. These steps are essential to improve the mental health of adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.
The University of Zambia
HIV positive--Adolescents mental health--Zambia