We integrated a transdiagnostic psychological intervention (Common Elements Treatment Approach [CETA]) into routine HIV care in Sofala, Mozambique. This task-shared program screens and treats newly diagnosed HIV+ patients with comorbid mental health symptoms.
A mixed-methods evaluation included demographics, intake screening scores, mental health symptoms, and barriers/facilitators to implementation examined through interviews. Multilevel models were used to analyze factors associated with symptom improvement and loss to follow-up (LTFU).
From March 2019 to June 2020, 820 individuals were screened for CETA treatment; 382 (46.6%) showed clinically significant mental health symptoms and attended 1484 CETA sessions. Of CETA patients, 71.5% (n = 273/382) had general mental distress, 7.3% (n = 28) had alcohol abuse/dependence, 12.0% (n = 46) had suicidal ideation, and 3.7% (n = 14) had other violent ideation; 66.2% (n = 253) had experienced at least 1 traumatic event at intake. Mental health symptoms decreased by 74.1% (17.0 to 4.4) after 5 CETA sessions, and 37.4% of patients (n = 143) achieved a ≥50% symptom reduction from intake. LTFU was 29.1% (n = 111), but 59.5% of LTFU patients (n = 66) achieved a ≥50% symptom reduction before LTFU. Facilitators for CETA implementation included readiness for change given the unaddressed burden of mental illness. Barriers included complexity of the intervention and stigma.
Approximately 45% of newly diagnosed HIV+ individuals in Mozambique have clinically significant mental health symptoms at diagnosis. Integrating CETA into routine HIV platforms has in-context feasibility. Future implementation studies can optimize strategies for patient retention and scale-up.