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Mental Health and HIV

Education Packet

Mental Health and HIV Education Packet – This packet is a compilation of recent fact sheets and other resources. You may wish to customize it to meet the needs or interests of particular groups, such as event participants, providers, patients, clients, or the general public. So please feel free to distribute all or part of this packet as either a printout or PDF.

Fact Sheets and Issue Briefs

Mental Health and HIV ( – After a brief introduction to mental health challenges in general, this resource focuses primarily on depression, which is very common among people with HIV. It lists the potential symptoms of depression and provides guidance on getting help in a mental health crisis. Guidance is also provided in talking with healthcare providers about mental health, mental health providers and programs, and finding mental health services.

HIV and Mental Health (HIVinfo) – This begins with a definition of mental health, followed by information on the risk of mental health conditions among people with HIV; the causes and warning signs of mental health problems; and where people experiencing mental health problems can go for help. Also available in Spanish.

Stigma and Mental Health (CDC) – This examines how HIV infection can impact a person’s mental health, and then focuses on HIV-related depression and its treatment. Also available in Spanish.

HIV and AIDS and Mental Health (National Institute of Mental Health) – This addresses how people with HIV are at a higher risk for mental health disorders; defines a group of complications that are known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND); and describes ways in which taking antiretroviral treatment (ART) can affect mental health.

Mental Health and HIV (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) – This resource begins with an overview of mental health and HIV, followed by common responses to an HIV diagnosis, including denial, anger, sadness or depression, fear, anxiety, and stress – as well as tips for coping with these emotional responses.  There is also a section about HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.

The Impact of Mental Health Across the HIV Care Continuum (American Psychological Association) – This issue brief examines the prevalence of mental health disorders among people with HIV; the role of mental health problems in HIV acquisition; the effects of mental impairment on HIV health outcomes; mental health screening and treatment for people with HIV; and mental and behavioral health treatments in HIV care.

Mental Health and HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) – This presentation slide set covers the intersection between mental health and HIV, mental health and HIV policies, efforts to address social determinants of mental health conditions and HIV infection, and the integration of care for mental health, substance use, and HIV.

Compiled Resources: American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association has produced a series of fact sheets about different mental health conditions affecting people with HIV.  These include:

Selected Resources from AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs)

National HIV Curriculum: Screening for Mental Health Conditions (AIDS Education and Training Center, University of Washington, and other partners, 2020) – This is the sixth lesson in the Curriculum’s Basic HIV Primary Care module. It has detailed information on many topics, including:

  • Background
  • Estimates of Mental Health Conditions in Persons with HIV
  • Mental Health Conditions and Risk of HIV Acquisition and Transmission
  • Impact of Mental Health Conditions on HIV Outcomes
  • Benefit of Mental Health Care on HIV Outcomes
  • Neurocognitive Disorders in Persons Living with HIV
  • Overview of Screening Tools for Common Mental Health Conditions
  • Depression Screening Tools
  • Anxiety Disorder Screening Tools
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Screening Tools
  • Bipolar Disorder Screening Tool
  • Neurocognitive Screening Tools
  • Integrating Mental Health Screening into HIV Care

HIV and Oral Health Webinar Series Part 1: Trauma Informed Dental Care (New England AETC, December 2022) – This webinar provides: 1) an overview of the approach used by a Part F Community-Based Dental Partnership to integrate/implement trauma-informed care into their program; and 2) examples of strategies participants can apply to create a more trauma-informed practice to improve the delivery of dental care.

18th Annual Conference on HIV/AIDS and Aging (New England AETC, September 2022) – This webinar covers many issues related to HIV and aging, including long-term survival, primary prevention, PEP, PrEP, transgender health, oral health, mental health, and substance use.

Models of Case Management for Substance Use Disorders in HIV Care Settings (Pacific AETC, July 2022) – This webinar reviews the topic of case management for patients with substance use disorders (SUD) and/or mental health conditions in HIV care settings. Four models of effective case management that can be tailored to HIV care settings are presented.

Mental Health and HIV Webinar Series Part 4: Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders (New England AETC, June 2022) – This webinar provides information about the pervasiveness of trauma among people with HIV and the principles of care necessary to avoid doing harm. The diagnosis and treatment of specific trauma disorders, including PTSD, are also discussed.

Mental Health and HIV Webinar Series Part 3: Anxiety Disorders (New England AETC, May 2022) – This webinar provides information about how to appropriately diagnose and effectively treat the most common anxiety disorders in primary care.

Mental Health and HIV Webinar Series Part 2: Pharmacotherapy for Depression (New England AETC, May 2022) – This webinar provides information about the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, including their impact on the management of HIV. Strategies for adjusting, switching, or augmenting antidepressant medications are also discussed.

Mental Health and HIV Webinar Series Part 1: Addressing Depression in People with HIV (New England AETC, May 2022) – This webinar describes the importance of addressing depression in people with HIV, and evidence-based approaches for diagnosing and treating depressive illnesses. There is also a discussion about how treating depression impacts both mental health and HIV outcomes.

Trauma-Informed Care for Primary Care Providers (Southeast AETC, March 2022) – These training slides cover the long?term effects of trauma on patients and review key principles and strategies that guide a trauma?informed care approach for patients in healthcare settings.

Mental Health and HIV (New England AETC, February 2022) – This webinar addresses the intersections of mental health and HIV. 

The State of Mental Health for People of Color with HIV in the LGBTQ+ Community during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Northeast/Caribbean AETC, December 2021) – These training slides cover the combined impact of HIV and COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ people of color.

Integrating Behavioral Health Care and HIV Care (Northeast/Caribbean AETC, December 2021) – These training slides cover the rationale for integrating the HIV Care Continuum and the Behavioral Health Continuum to create a collaborative care model.

Harm Reduction in the Continuum of Care for Substance Use Disorders (Northeast/Caribbean AETC. December 2021) – These training slides review the importance and utility of providing harm reduction services for people with substance use disorders and identify various types of harm reduction services available and how to determine which service will be the most beneficial to your clients.

Using a Trauma-Informed Lens for Building a Compassion Resilient Workforce (New England AETC, November 2021) – This presentation reviews the national context and details about trauma-informed care; the work of the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force within the HIV Program; and ways in which compassion resilience in the workforce can help reduce burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as provide optimized care to patients.

Being Triply Diagnosed While Black During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Northeast/Caribbean AETC, November 2021) – These training slides examine mental illness through a cultural lens to review the impact of COVID-19 on the Black community while facing the challenges of mental illness, substance use disorder, and HIV infection. Various treatment options are also addressed.

The Psychological Implications of COVID-19 on People of Color with HIV/AIDS (Northeast/Caribbean AETC, October 2021) – These training slides cover the mental, emotional, and behavioral impact of COVID-19 on people of color with HIV, and discuss how the pandemic exposed racial and ethnic disparities in accessing behavioral health care. Strategies to help patients discuss, identify, and effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic and beyond are shared.

Substance Use Disorder Curriculum (Southeast AETC and others, September 2021) – This curriculum offers 6 hours of free CME, CNE, and CPE credit on the following topics: addiction as a brain disease, motivational interviewing and substance use disorder, challenging behaviors of addiction, and trauma-informed care and substance use disorder.

Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary HIV Care – Covering the Bases (AETC National Coordinating Resource Center and others, August 2021) – This tool was designed to assist HIV primary care teams in a range of clinical settings to plan and carry out enhanced integration of mental health and substance use services, referred to as behavioral health.

Loss and Grief during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Northeast/Caribbean AETC, August 2020) – These training slides were developed to help healthcare providers understand and cope with feelings of loss and grief on a personal level and among their patients with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Intersection of HIV and Mental Health: Addressing Stigma and Implicit Bias in the Healthcare Setting (Pacific AETC, June 2021) – These training slides provide an update for healthcare professionals on the intersection of HIV, substance use, and mental health conditions. The focus is on increased education on cultural competency, barriers to care, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, and addressing stigma to reduce barriers to patient care and improve retention in care among the vulnerable populations who are most impacted by health disparities.

The Intersection of HIV and Mental Health: Addressing Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide Prevention (Pacific AETC, June 2021) – Mental health is an integral part of HIV patient care, particularly around treatment adherence and retention in care. The purpose of this resource is to increase knowledge around these issues for providers while offering strategies and tools for people with HIV and mental health issues.

Mental Health for Transgender and Gender-Diverse People (New England AETC, March 2021) – This webinar covers: mental health inequities across diagnostic categories and HIV risk within a gender minority stress framework; culturally responsive tailoring of evidence-based clinical practices; and strategies for building inclusive, affirming, and trauma-informed environments within healthcare organizations to optimize mental health and HIV-related outcomes.

Suicide and Overdose Among People with HIV During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Updates and Opportunities for Mitigation (Mountain West AETC and New England AETC, March 2021) – This webinar covers overdose death rates throughout the U.S. during COVID-19, identifies risk factors for suicidal ideation in people with HIV, identifies how COVID-19 impacts the mental health of people with HIV, and reviews steps providers can take to address overdose risk in people with substance use disorder.


Other Related Resources

Integration of Mental Health and HIV Interventions: Key Considerations (UNAIDS) – This report stresses the importance of integrating HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care with mental health services and care for people with HIV and other vulnerable population groups. It also provides a set of tools, best practices, and guidelines, and offers eight essential principles for integrating HIV and mental health services.

Eliminating Disparities in Viral Suppression Rates at Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program-Funded Clinics Due to Mental Health (Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation) – This resource describes core interventions for eliminating disparities in viral suppression rates due to mental health conditions. These include optimizing linkage and referral to care, providing trauma-informed care, connecting clients with transportation services, training staff in motivational interviewing skills, and others.

The Case for Behavioral Health Screening in HIV Care Settings (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) – This report highlights the need for HIV treatment providers to address behavioral health concerns associated with HIV. It urges providers to screen patients for mental health and substance use disorders, and offers strategies for implementing screening practices.

Neurological Complications of HIV and AIDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) – This resource and an associated brochure describe how HIV infection affects the nervous system, the types of neurological side effects people with HIV may experience when taking ART, the range of neurological complications that may be caused by HIV infection, and how these complications may be diagnosed and treated.

Tackling Behavioral Health Comorbidities with the WHO Pyramid of Mental Health Services (National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment) – This presentation discusses the World Health Organization pyramid of mental health services and how HIV prevention and care programs can address behavioral health comorbidities without exclusively relying on specialty mental health providers.

Psychosocial and Support Needs for People with HIV Who Are Aging in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA] HIV/AIDS Bureau) – This webinar reviewed data on HIV among older Americans and their psychosocial needs, including the impact of isolation and HIV stigma.

Trauma-Informed Approaches Toolkit (NASTAD) – This resource presents information about the basics of trauma and different trauma-informed approaches for delivering HIV care.

HIV and Substance Use Videos (National Institute on Drug Abuse) – The video “Meth, Sex and HIV” explores NIDA-supported research on preventing and treating HIV among gay and bisexual men who use methamphetamine. “Trust, Stigma, and Patient Care” provides researchers and health professionals with guidance on how to better serve people who use drugs in the context of their sexual health.


The contents listed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the New England AIDS Education and Training Center.