The nongovernmental organization, Uyisenga N'Manzi (UNM), provides Rwandan orphans of genocide and HIV/AIDS with education, social, and mental health services. Many orphans in UNM report symptoms of psychological trauma. The primary study objective was to evaluate a multidisciplinary program integrating HIV prevention with an existing package of mental health services. We randomly selected 120 orphans between ages 15-25 years served by UNM and evaluated sexually-transmitted infections, HIV risk-taking behaviors and knowledge, and mental health at baseline, 5, 9, and 12 months. Increased trauma symptoms at baseline were associated with poorer coping skills and social functioning, and increased psychological distress and HIV risk-taking behavior. Following the 12-month intervention, trauma symptoms declined significantly, with those accessing counseling services showing greatest improvement. Orphans with the highest trauma scores benefited most from the intervention. In this at-risk population, addressing mental health issues in the context of HIV prevention is critical.
View details for Web of Science ID 000327416100002
View details for PubMedID 24245594