December 2013
HIV/AIDS Psychiatry

News from the Section

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. 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.

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.

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.

On February 12, 2012, the WPA Executive Committee approved a proposal for a new WPA Section on HIV/AIDS Psychiatry. The Section on HIV/AIDS Psychiatry was developed from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Special Interest Group on HIV Psychiatry. Established in 2003, this group has grown from 32 to 310 members worldwide.

Sampling of activities since February 12, 2012:

May 7, 2012 American Psychiatric Association Trauma, PTSD, and HIV: Psychodynamic and Educational Approaches to Adherence in a Community Medical Setting

May 8, 2012 American Psychiatric AssociationUpdate in HIV and AIDS Psychiatry

November 15, 2012 Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Screening, Assessment, and Treatment of Depression and HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND): A Discussion of the Evidence

On November 16, 2012, we had our annual meeting at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Profs. Cesar Alfonso and Deyadira Baez-Sierra represented the Section on HIV/AIDS Psychiatry at the Section Chairs Meeting of the WPA in Prague in October 2012 where they were also presenters.

We know that as a WPA Section, our members will be able to expand our global educational outreach efforts. We look forward to continuing to attend and participate in WPA meetings and working toward prevention of transmission of HIV and HIV stigma. Learn more about the work of our section at www.

Mary Ann Cohen

Chair, WPA Section on

HIV/AIDS Psychiatry




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