Task Shifting Models Delivering Psychotropic Drugs for Depressive and Anxiety Disorders in HIV Positive Populations: A Systematic Review

Investigator: Remy Slomoff, MS
Sponsor: Global Health Sciences Education

Location(s): Kenya


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global epidemic with approximately 35 million people living with HIV worldwide. As research on HIV has increased dramatically over the last several decades, the syndemic including HIV/AIDS and severe mental illness is coming to the forefront. Depressive and anxiety disorders are common among persons with HIV and together are associated with adverse outcomes, including reduced adherence, poor self-care, and increased social isolation. There is not, however, a clear direction of cause and effect between mental illness and HIV/AIDS and very little work has been done on the prevention and treatment of this comorbidity. Here I present the most recent work that has been published on models of treatment for people living with comorbid HIV and mental illness using psychotropic medication. Further, we have focused on task shifting models due to the general understanding that mental health care providers outside of the developed world are few and far between. Many regions throughout the world have limited resources and capacity to identify and treat mental illness which is why task shifting models have come into play in many countries to help address the large mental health treatment gap. We have chosen to do a global search for these treatment models because it is the author’s belief that effective models anywhere in the world can help to inform future treatment in countries struggling with the same syndemic. It is the purpose of this systematic review to synthesize the literature on task shifting models for delivering psychotropic drugs for depressive and anxiety disorders to people living with HIV (PLWH). 

Mentor: Susan Meffert, MD, MPH