Mental health problems across the HIV care continuum for adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: A scoping review


Mental health problems (e.g., anxiety, depression) are frequently experienced by adolescents living with HIV (ALWH) and can worsen HIV-related outcomes. This scoping review synthesizes the existing research on ALWHs’ mental health problems at multiple steps along the HIV care continuum in sub-Saharan Africa. Searching PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsycINFO identified 34 peer-reviewed studies that met inclusion criteria. Most studies assessed ALWHs’ mental health problems at the “Engaged or Retained in Care” continuum step, are cross-sectional, focus on depression and anxiety, and used measures developed in high-income countries. Studies identify mental health problems among ALWH as prevalent and barriers to care. Significant gaps remain in understanding how mental health problems and their relationships with HIV-related health outcomes shift across the continuum. Additional attention is needed, especially at the HIV testing and viral suppression steps, to generate a more comprehensive understanding of mental health needs and priority timepoints for intervention for ALWH.


Poku OB, West NS, Eschliman EL, Dangerfield DT, Bass J, Kennedy CE, Murray SM




  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Linkage/engagement in care
    • Retention in care
    • Treatment
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Mental Health
    • Depression
    • Other


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