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Statement: Our response to the APPG on HIV & AIDS report - The Missing Link: HIV and Mental Health

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

According to a report launched today by a cross-party group of parliamentarians on HIV and AIDS, failure to address the mental health needs of people with HIV could negatively impact on progress towards ending the epidemic and is leading to increased infections.

Kat Smithson, Director of Policy at NAT (National AIDS Trust), said:

“This report provides compelling evidence that much more needs to be done to support the mental health needs of those living with HIV. As well as the devastating effects of stigma, people living with HIV are disproportionately affected by marginalisation, poverty and other factors which can exacerbate poor mental health and prevent access to care. We cannot overlook the structural failings that make a complex and under-resourced health and welfare system overwhelming to navigate. 
“We’re pleased the report highlights how HIV support services have long provided a vital lifeline to people living with HIV by offering peer support, psychosocial support, and advocacy. Often rooted in the community and run by voluntary organisations, these services are particularly well placed for women, trans and non-binary people, and migrant communities among others. They play an important preventive role, for example, by alleviating loneliness and low self-worth before they intensify. However, funding cuts have decimated many of these services and generic mental health services cannot meet this need and are not set up to manage more complex HIV-related needs when they emerge. With so many gaps in the HIV care pathway, we’re in grave danger of our most vulnerable slipping through the cracks.”

Notes to editors

You can read the full report, The Missing Link: HIV and Mental Health here

About NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.


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