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Despite a high prevalence of problematic substance use among people living with HIV in South Africa, there remains limited access to substance use services within the HIV care system. To address this gap, our team previously developed and adapted a six-session, peer-delivered problem-solving and behavioral activation-based intervention (Khanya) to improve HIV medication adherence and reduce substance use in Cape Town. This study evaluated patient and provider perspectives on the intervention to inform implementation and future adaptation.
Following intervention completion, we conducted semi-structured individual interviews with patients (n = 23) and providers (n = 9) to understand perspectives on the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of Khanya and its implementation by a peer. Patients also quantitatively ranked the usefulness of individual intervention components (problem solving for medication adherence ‘Life-Steps’, behavioral activation, mindfulness training, and relapse prevention) at post-treatment and six months follow-up, which we triangulated with qualitative feedback to examine convergence and divergence across methods.
Patients and providers reported high overall acceptability, feasibility, and appropriateness of Khanya, although there were several feasibility challenges. Mindfulness and Life-Steps were identified as particularly acceptable, feasible, and appropriate components by patients across methods, whereas relapse prevention strategies were less salient. Behavioral activation results were less consistent across methods.
Findings underscore the importance of examining patients’ perspectives on specific intervention components within intervention packages. While mindfulness training and peer delivery models were positively perceived by consumers, they are rarely used within task-shared behavioral interventions in low- and middle-income countries.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and ensuing restrictions have negatively affected the mental health and well-being of the general population, and there is increasing evidence suggesting that lockdowns have led to a disruption of health services. In March 2020, South Africa introduced a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, entailing the suspension of all non-essential activities and a complete ban of tobacco and alcohol sales. We studied the effect of the lockdown on mental health care utilisation rates in private-sector care in South Africa.
We conducted an interrupted time-series analysis using insurance claims from 1 January 2017 to 1 June 2020 of beneficiaries 18 years or older from a large private sector medical insurance scheme. We calculated weekly outpatient consultation and hospital admission rates for organic mental disorders, substance use disorders, serious mental disorders, depression, anxiety, other mental disorders, any mental disorder and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. We calculated adjusted odds ratios (OR) for the effect of the lockdown on weekly outpatient consultation and hospital admission rates and the weekly change in rates during the lockdown until 1 June 2020.
710 367 persons were followed up for a median of 153 weeks. Hospital admission rates (OR 0.38; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.33–0.44) and outpatient consultation rates (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.63–0.87) for any mental disorder decreased substantially after the introduction of the lockdown and did not recover to pre-lockdown levels by 1 June 2020. Health care utilisation rates for alcohol withdrawal syndrome doubled after the introduction of the lockdown, but the statistical uncertainty around the estimates was large (OR 2.24; 95% CI 0.69–7.24).
Mental health care utilisation rates for inpatient and outpatient services decreased substantially after the introduction of the lockdown. Hospital admissions and outpatient consultations for alcohol withdrawal syndrome increased after the introduction of the lockdown, but statistical uncertainty precludes strong conclusions about a potential unintended effect of the alcohol sales ban. Governments should integrate strategies for ensuring access and continuity of essential mental health services during lockdowns in pandemic preparedness planning.
Food insecurity is a structural barrier to HIV care in peri-urban areas in South Africa (SA), where approximately 80 % of households are moderately or severely food insecure. For people with HIV (PWH), food insecurity is associated with poor antiretroviral therapy adherence and survival rates. Yet, measurement of food insecurity among PWH remains a challenge.
The current study examines the factor structure of the nine-item Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS, isiXhosa-translated) among PWH in SA using a restrictive bifactor model.
Primary care clinics in Khayelitsha, a peri-urban settlement in Cape Town, SA.
Participants (n 440) were PWH who received HIV care in Khayelitsha screening for a clinical trial. Most were categorised as severely (n 250, 56·82 %) or moderately (n 107, 24·32 %) food insecure in the past 30 d.
Revised parallel analysis suggested a three-factor structure, which was inadmissible. A two-factor structure was examined but did not adequately fit the data. A two-factor restrictive bifactor model was examined, such that all items loaded on a general factor (food insecurity) and all but two items loaded on one of two specific additional factors, which adequately fit the data (comparative fit index = 0·995, standardised root mean square residual = 0·019). The two specific factors identified were: anxiety/insufficient quality and no food intake. Reliability was adequate (ω = 0·82).
Results supported the use of a total score, and identified two specific factors of the HFIAS, which may be utilised in future research and intervention development. These findings help identify aspects of food insecurity that may drive relationships between the construct and important HIV-related variables.
Visual scales may be particularly useful in screening for depression in patients with low literacy. However, few have been validated and none are in common use.
Modification and validation of a visual scale to screen for depression in low literacy settings.
We assessed the validity, reliability and factor loading of a 28-item visual depression inventory using pictorial items depicting depression signs and symptoms. We validated a revised scale comprised of 18 items known as the Akena Visual Depression Inventory (AViDI-18) against a structured diagnostic interview (Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Inventory) in 343 patients in Kampala (Uganda) and Cape Town (South Africa).
The 18 pictorial items had acceptable validity and reliability. The area under the curve (AUC) score of the AViDI-18 was 0.9. AUC scores were not significantly associated with sociodemographic variables.
The AViDI-18 is a valid screen for depression in patients with low literacy.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of HIV infection on cortical and subcortical regions of the frontal-striatal system involved in the inhibition of voluntary movement. Functional MRI (fMRI) studies suggest that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with frontostriatal dysfunction. While frontostriatal systems play a key role in behavioral inhibition, there are to our knowledge no fMRI studies investigating the potential impact of HIV on systems involved during the inhibition of voluntary movement. A total of 17 combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) naïve HIV+ participants as well as 18 age, gender, ethnic, education matched healthy controls performed a modified version of the stop-signal paradigm. This paradigm assessed behavior as well as functional brain activity associated with motor execution, reactive inhibition (outright stopping) and proactive inhibition (anticipatory response slowing before stopping). HIV+ participants showed significantly slower responses during motor execution compared to healthy controls, whereas they had normal proactive response slowing. Putamen hypoactivation was evident in the HIV+ participants based on successful stopping, indicating subcortical dysfunction during reactive inhibition. HIV+ participants showed normal cortical functioning during proactive inhibition. Our data provide evidence that HIV infection is associated with subcortical dysfunction during reactive inhibition, accompanied by relatively normal higher cortical functioning during proactive inhibition. This suggests that HIV infection may primarily involve basic striatal-mediated control processes in cART naïve participants. (JINS, 2015, 21, 722–731)
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