Abstract – Human rights, mental illness and HIV: The Luthando Neuropsychiatric HIV Clinic in Soweto, South Africa

Greg  Jonsson, Jennifer Furin, Fatema Jeenah, M.Y. Moosa, Reshmi Sivepersad, Fran Kalafatis, and Janine Schoeman

Health and Human Rights 13/2

Published December 2011


HIV is the leading infectious killer of adults in the world today and a majority of persons with HIV live in southern Africa. Mental illness is common among patients with HIV. Persons with HIV and mental illness, however, are often denied access to HIV treatment for a variety of reasons, including presumed non-adherence, potential drug interactions, and lack of coordinated care. The exclusion of the mentally ill from HIV care is a concerning human rights issue. This paper discusses some of the human rights issues in the care of patients with mental illness and HIV and describes a successful model for integrated care developed at the Luthando Neuropsychiatric HIV Clinic in Soweto, South Africa. The Luthando clinic has provided care to more than 500 patients and has been shown to be a successful model for other programs to improve HIV care among the mentally ill.