ABUJA – The Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) says it will conduct Africa’s largest prevalence study on common mental disorders among a sample of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Chief Executive Officer of IHVN, Dr Patrick Dakum, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that, the study would focus on depression and substance use.
He said the initiative was conceived in a bid to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Dakum added that the study, which would involve over 1,000 people living with the disease, when completed, would help the institute in the implementation of its programmes and policies on HIV/AIDS.
He said the IHVN had signed an agreement with Gede Foundation, an NGO, for the purpose of collaborating with the organisation for the study.
According to Dakum, the letter of agreement for the research, which is funded by Gede Foundation, was recently signed in Abuja by representatives of both organisations.
“We do know scientifically that HIV attacks the neural nerves too.
“But to what extent that is, and to what extent do we have primary depression and primary mental illness as opposed to the one that was affected by HIV are things that we need to figure out.
“This is important because it will help us in our implementation and our programming,” Dakum said.
He said the institute was committed to serious use of grants it secured and treasure every partnership to improve the lives of people living with and affected by HIV.
He expressed optimism that the outcome of the research would benefit both parties in the agreement.
IHVN’s Director, Clinical Services Department, Dr Ernest Ekong, also told NAN that the institute had to embark on the research because of the relevance of depression in HIV patients.
“We don’t have too many studies that have come up clearly to look at depression.
“People have looked at neuro-cognitive and other areas but here we are looking at depression, alcohol consumption and use of drugs, etc.
“Other studies have been rather small; 20, 30 people but this is 1,200, on the basis of those results we will feed directly into how people are living positively and get more comprehensive health care,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that IHVN recently signed an agreement with the Gede Foundation, Abuja, on the funding for the exercise.