Understanding the mental health of youth living with perinatal HIV infection: Lessons learned and current challenges

Claude A. Mellins*, Kathleen M. Malee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Across the globe, children born with perinatal HIV infection (PHIV) are reaching adolescence and young adulthood in large numbers. The majority of research has focused on biomedical outcomes yet there is increasing awareness that long-term survivors with PHIV are at high risk for mental health problems, given genetic, biomedical, familial and environmental risk. This article presents a review of the literature on the mental health functioning of perinatally HIV-infected (PHIV+) adolescents, corresponding risk and protective factors, treatment modalities and critical needs for future interventions and research. Methods: An extensive review of online databases was conducted. Articles including: (1) PHIV+ youth; (2) age 10 and older; (3) mental health outcomes; and (4) mental health treatment were reviewed. Of 93 articles identified, 38 met inclusion criteria, the vast majority from the United States and Europe. Results: These studies suggest that PHIV+ youth experience emotional and behavioural problems, including psychiatric disorders, at higher than expected rates, often exceeding those of the general population and other high-risk groups. Yet, the specific role of HIV per se remains unclear, as uninfected youth with HIV exposure or those living in HIV-affected households displayed similar prevalence rates in some studies, higher rates in others and lower rates in still others. Although studies are limited with mixed findings, this review indicates that child-health status, cognitive function, parental health and mental health, stressful life events and neighbourhood disorder have been associated with worse mental health outcomes, while parent-child involvement and communication, and peer, parent and teacher social support have been associated with better function. Few evidence-based interventions exist; CHAMP+, a mental health programme for PHIV+ youth, shows promise across cultures. Conclusions: This review highlights research limitations that preclude both conclusions and full understanding of aetiology. Conversely, these limitations present opportunities for future research. Many PHIV+ youth experience adequate mental health despite vulnerabilities. However, the focus of research to date highlights the identification of risks rather than positive attributes, which could inform preventive interventions. Development and evaluation of mental health interventions and preventions are urgently needed to optimize mental health, particularly for PHIV+ youth growing up in low-and-middle income countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18593
JournalJournal of the International AIDS Society
Volume16
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 18 2013

Fingerprint

HIV Infections
Mental Health
HIV
Research
Social Support
Cognition
Health Status
Psychiatry
Survivors
Communication
Databases
Health
Therapeutics
Population

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Emotional and behavioural problems
  • Mental health
  • Paediatric HIV
  • Perinatal HIV infection
  • Psychiatric disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

@article{94b68402003b477bbbc31abc2e6875f8,
title = "Understanding the mental health of youth living with perinatal HIV infection: Lessons learned and current challenges",
abstract = "Introduction: Across the globe, children born with perinatal HIV infection (PHIV) are reaching adolescence and young adulthood in large numbers. The majority of research has focused on biomedical outcomes yet there is increasing awareness that long-term survivors with PHIV are at high risk for mental health problems, given genetic, biomedical, familial and environmental risk. This article presents a review of the literature on the mental health functioning of perinatally HIV-infected (PHIV+) adolescents, corresponding risk and protective factors, treatment modalities and critical needs for future interventions and research. Methods: An extensive review of online databases was conducted. Articles including: (1) PHIV+ youth; (2) age 10 and older; (3) mental health outcomes; and (4) mental health treatment were reviewed. Of 93 articles identified, 38 met inclusion criteria, the vast majority from the United States and Europe. Results: These studies suggest that PHIV+ youth experience emotional and behavioural problems, including psychiatric disorders, at higher than expected rates, often exceeding those of the general population and other high-risk groups. Yet, the specific role of HIV per se remains unclear, as uninfected youth with HIV exposure or those living in HIV-affected households displayed similar prevalence rates in some studies, higher rates in others and lower rates in still others. Although studies are limited with mixed findings, this review indicates that child-health status, cognitive function, parental health and mental health, stressful life events and neighbourhood disorder have been associated with worse mental health outcomes, while parent-child involvement and communication, and peer, parent and teacher social support have been associated with better function. Few evidence-based interventions exist; CHAMP+, a mental health programme for PHIV+ youth, shows promise across cultures. Conclusions: This review highlights research limitations that preclude both conclusions and full understanding of aetiology. Conversely, these limitations present opportunities for future research. Many PHIV+ youth experience adequate mental health despite vulnerabilities. However, the focus of research to date highlights the identification of risks rather than positive attributes, which could inform preventive interventions. Development and evaluation of mental health interventions and preventions are urgently needed to optimize mental health, particularly for PHIV+ youth growing up in low-and-middle income countries.",
keywords = "Adolescence, Emotional and behavioural problems, Mental health, Paediatric HIV, Perinatal HIV infection, Psychiatric disorders",
author = "Mellins, {Claude A.} and Malee, {Kathleen M.}",
year = "2013",
month = "6",
day = "18",
doi = "10.7448/IAS.16.1.18593",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "16",
journal = "Journal of the International AIDS Society",
issn = "1758-2652",
publisher = "International AIDS Society",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Understanding the mental health of youth living with perinatal HIV infection

T2 - Lessons learned and current challenges

AU - Mellins, Claude A.

AU - Malee, Kathleen M.

PY - 2013/6/18

Y1 - 2013/6/18

N2 - Introduction: Across the globe, children born with perinatal HIV infection (PHIV) are reaching adolescence and young adulthood in large numbers. The majority of research has focused on biomedical outcomes yet there is increasing awareness that long-term survivors with PHIV are at high risk for mental health problems, given genetic, biomedical, familial and environmental risk. This article presents a review of the literature on the mental health functioning of perinatally HIV-infected (PHIV+) adolescents, corresponding risk and protective factors, treatment modalities and critical needs for future interventions and research. Methods: An extensive review of online databases was conducted. Articles including: (1) PHIV+ youth; (2) age 10 and older; (3) mental health outcomes; and (4) mental health treatment were reviewed. Of 93 articles identified, 38 met inclusion criteria, the vast majority from the United States and Europe. Results: These studies suggest that PHIV+ youth experience emotional and behavioural problems, including psychiatric disorders, at higher than expected rates, often exceeding those of the general population and other high-risk groups. Yet, the specific role of HIV per se remains unclear, as uninfected youth with HIV exposure or those living in HIV-affected households displayed similar prevalence rates in some studies, higher rates in others and lower rates in still others. Although studies are limited with mixed findings, this review indicates that child-health status, cognitive function, parental health and mental health, stressful life events and neighbourhood disorder have been associated with worse mental health outcomes, while parent-child involvement and communication, and peer, parent and teacher social support have been associated with better function. Few evidence-based interventions exist; CHAMP+, a mental health programme for PHIV+ youth, shows promise across cultures. Conclusions: This review highlights research limitations that preclude both conclusions and full understanding of aetiology. Conversely, these limitations present opportunities for future research. Many PHIV+ youth experience adequate mental health despite vulnerabilities. However, the focus of research to date highlights the identification of risks rather than positive attributes, which could inform preventive interventions. Development and evaluation of mental health interventions and preventions are urgently needed to optimize mental health, particularly for PHIV+ youth growing up in low-and-middle income countries.

AB - Introduction: Across the globe, children born with perinatal HIV infection (PHIV) are reaching adolescence and young adulthood in large numbers. The majority of research has focused on biomedical outcomes yet there is increasing awareness that long-term survivors with PHIV are at high risk for mental health problems, given genetic, biomedical, familial and environmental risk. This article presents a review of the literature on the mental health functioning of perinatally HIV-infected (PHIV+) adolescents, corresponding risk and protective factors, treatment modalities and critical needs for future interventions and research. Methods: An extensive review of online databases was conducted. Articles including: (1) PHIV+ youth; (2) age 10 and older; (3) mental health outcomes; and (4) mental health treatment were reviewed. Of 93 articles identified, 38 met inclusion criteria, the vast majority from the United States and Europe. Results: These studies suggest that PHIV+ youth experience emotional and behavioural problems, including psychiatric disorders, at higher than expected rates, often exceeding those of the general population and other high-risk groups. Yet, the specific role of HIV per se remains unclear, as uninfected youth with HIV exposure or those living in HIV-affected households displayed similar prevalence rates in some studies, higher rates in others and lower rates in still others. Although studies are limited with mixed findings, this review indicates that child-health status, cognitive function, parental health and mental health, stressful life events and neighbourhood disorder have been associated with worse mental health outcomes, while parent-child involvement and communication, and peer, parent and teacher social support have been associated with better function. Few evidence-based interventions exist; CHAMP+, a mental health programme for PHIV+ youth, shows promise across cultures. Conclusions: This review highlights research limitations that preclude both conclusions and full understanding of aetiology. Conversely, these limitations present opportunities for future research. Many PHIV+ youth experience adequate mental health despite vulnerabilities. However, the focus of research to date highlights the identification of risks rather than positive attributes, which could inform preventive interventions. Development and evaluation of mental health interventions and preventions are urgently needed to optimize mental health, particularly for PHIV+ youth growing up in low-and-middle income countries.

KW - Adolescence

KW - Emotional and behavioural problems

KW - Mental health

KW - Paediatric HIV

KW - Perinatal HIV infection

KW - Psychiatric disorders

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84887288069&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84887288069&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.7448/IAS.16.1.18593

DO - 10.7448/IAS.16.1.18593

M3 - Review article

C2 - 23782478

AN - SCOPUS:84887288069

VL - 16

JO - Journal of the International AIDS Society

JF - Journal of the International AIDS Society

SN - 1758-2652

M1 - 18593

ER -