Impact of HIV Information and Peer Support on Psychiatric Outcomes in HIV positive Young People
Background: Young people are most vulnerable to acquiring HIV Infection in Zambia and they are at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders which if left unchecked can have behavioural and health consequences. It's from this background that this study aimed at evaluating the impact of HIV information and peer support intervention on the psychiatric outcomes of HIV positive youths.
Methods: A total of 130 participants were recruited from three anti-retroviral (ART) clinics in Lusaka, 80 were randomized to intervention group. The Hamilton Depression Scale for children was administered to the intervention group (n= 80) at baseline and after 10 weeks intervention by a psychiatrist who was a member of the research team.
Results: The results indicated that 42 percent of the subjects had depressive symptoms. However, after intervention, only 15 percent of these, were diagnosed with depressive symptoms; representing 65 percent intervention efficacy.
Conclusion: HIV information and peer support can significantly avert any psychiatric effects of HIV infection. However, the sustainability of this improvement should be established through further studies.