Effectiveness and acceptance of group therapy as a mental health intervention for people living with HIV in Africa—A scoping literature review


Mental health problems are highly prevalent among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), yet mental health care in African countries is scarce. There is growing interest in understanding the effect of group therapy delivery models and task-shifting to support mental health care in African settings. We conducted a scoping review following the PRISMA-ScR statement on group therapy in PLWHA in Africa. We searched PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Google Scholar for articles published before October 2023 on evidence for effectiveness and acceptance of group therapies in PLWHA, and evidence of task-shifting approaches. A narrative synthesis approach for data analysis was used. We included 17 studies, which comprised 26 different outcome measures across seven countries in sub-Sahara Africa. The majority (72%) of the assessed single outcomes demonstrated a positive impact of group therapy delivery models on outcome measures, particularly depression, alcohol use, overall functioning, and social support in sub-Sahara Africa. High acceptance was demonstrated by quantitative and qualitative approaches. Task shifting approaches generally were shown to be effective, cost-effective, and accepted, and may support burdened healthcare systems in rural settings. The current evidence, albeit scarce, supports the use of group therapy and task shifting in addressing mental health among PLWHA living in sub-Sahara Africa.


Magnolini R, Staehelin S, Senkoro E, Kruijver M, Krinke E, Weisser M




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Social support
    • Health services
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Substance Use
    • Alcohol
  • Mental Health
    • Depression
    • Psychiatric disorders
    • Other
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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