Our HHS colleagues at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently launched a new page on their website devoted to behavioral health and HIV/AIDS.
SAMHSA is dedicated to promoting wellness and reducing the impact of mental and substance use disorders on America's communities and is among the Federal partners collaborating to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS).
The new page highlights SAMHSA's work to ensure that individuals who are at high risk for or have a mental and/or substance use disorder and who are most at risk for or are living with HIV/AIDS have access to and receive appropriate behavioral health services (including prevention and treatment), HIV/AIDS care and medical treatment. The page also features training and technical assistance as well as grants and other information resources available from SAMHSA.
We know that substance use is associated with a greater likelihood of acquiring HIV infection (read more about how HIV infection and drug use are related on AIDS.gov's Drug Use page). Further, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of people with HIV have a mental illness such as depression, and 13 percent have both mental illness and substance abuse issues (read more about mental health and HIV).
The NHAS calls for, among other things, coupling HIV screening and other comprehensive HIV prevention services with substance treatment programs and promoting collaboration among HIV medical care providers and agencies providing HIV counseling and testing services, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, housing and supportive services to link people with HIV to care. As these efforts unfold to help achieve the Strategy's goals, the information available on the new page may be useful to you or your colleagues.
Miguel Gomez is the AIDS.gov director.