A new report carried out by the Uganda Virus Research Institute and the Medical Research Council has revealed that 14% of the people living with HIV in Uganda suffer from depression and Masaka district tops among the districts with such communities.
Depression is a mental illness characterized by excessive sadness, loss of interest in formally pleasurable activities, poor concentration, and loss of appetite among others.
According to Prof. Eugene Kinyanda, the head of the mental health focus at the Medical Research Council Unit in Uganda, out of the 500 people who were observed during the study in the districts of Wakiso, Masaka, and Mpigi, it was found that 19.4% of those from Masaka were suffering from depression, while Entebbe had 8%.
He says the study also further indicated that depression also has faster HIV disease progression and poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV/AIDS.
While officiating at the release of the study findings, Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, the executive director at the Uganda Virus Research Institute, underscored the need to integrate mental health treatment-related services in HIV/Aids care centres.
“We hope the results will improve our management of depression not only in Uganda but also in other African countries where management of mental health is really behind,” Prof Kaleebu said.
Currently it is estimated that 1.5 million people in Uganda are living with HIV/AIDS