Provider-initiated HIV counselling and testing (PICT) in the mentally ill

M Y H Moosa, F Y Jeenah


The prevalence of HIV infection is substantially higher in mentally ill individuals than in the general population. Despite this, HIV testing is not yet standard practice among the mentally ill population, and many mental health settings do not encourage HIV testing. This paper discusses provider-initiated HIV counselling and testing (PICT) and some of the ethical dilemmas associated with it, on the basis that PICT may be used to increase the number of mentally ill persons tested for HIV. The authors conclude that PICT should be promoted to all psychiatric admissions and mentally ill individuals receiving outpatient services, and that this is within the parameters of existing policies and legislations in South Africa.


HIV testing; Mental illness; PICT; VCT; Ethics

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Submitted: 31 October 2012
Published: 30 August 2013

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)