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Challenges to HIV prevention in psychiatric settings : Perceptions of South African mental health care providers
Mental health services in South Africa increasingly feel the brunt of the AIDS epidemic. Despite the high prevalence of infection in the psychiatric setting, HIV risk reduction interventions targeting South Africans with psychiatric illness remain few and far between. The attitudes of mental health care providers about sexual relations and HIV among people with mental illness continue to influence the extent to which these issues are addressed in care settings. This study examines these attitudes through the use of a semi-structured interview administered to 46 mental health care providers in four provinces of South Africa. I found that personal, contextual and political factors in the clinic and the hospital create barriers to integrating prevention activities. In particular, providers face at least three challenges to intervening in the epidemic among their patients: their own views of psychiatric illness, the transitions occurring in the mental health care system, and shifting social attitudes toward sexuality. Barriers operate at the individual level, the institutional level, and the societal level. At the individual level providers' perceptions of psychiatric symptoms shape their outlook on intervention with psychiatric patients. At the institutional level disruptive transitions in service delivery relegate HIV services to lesser importance. At the societal level, personal beliefs about sexuality and mental illness have remained slow to change despite major political cha
ISSN : 0277-9536 CODEN : SSMDEP
Social science & medicine (1982) A. 2006, vol. 63, n° 4, pp. 979-990 [12 pages] [bibl. : 28 ref.]
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