It is an honor and pleasure to introduce the new WPA Section on HIV/AIDS Psychiatry. Our members are deeply appreciative of the enthusiastic support of Prof. Pedro Ruiz, WPA President and that of Prof. Afzal Javed, WPA Secretary for Sections. The goal of our Section is to raise awareness about HIV psychiatry as a global priority. AIDS may be similar to most severe and complex illnesses but AIDS is different because it is associated with stigma and discrimination and is an infectious illness that can be prevented by changes in behavior. Despite advances in the medical care of persons with HIV and AIDS, progress in prevention of HIV has lagged behind progress in the diagnosis and treatment of HIV. Worldwide, 33,200,000 persons are living with HIV and 2,600,000 persons each year are newly infected with HIV. Many persons who are infected with HIV lack access to care. Psychiatric disorders complicate and perpetuate HIV and add considerably to suffering, morbidity, and non-adherence to care.
Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV are vital for health and survival as well as for prevention of one of the complications of HIV infection, HIV-associated dementia. We know that as a WPA Section, our 310 members will be able to expand our global educational outreach efforts. Learn more about the work of our section at www.apm.org/sigs/oap.
Mary Ann Cohen
Chair, WPA Section on HIV/AIDS Psychiatry