Brief suicide preventive intervention in newly diagnosed HIV-positive persons

R. D. Govender, L. Schlebusch, T. Esterhuizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


South African studies have found that country wide suicide rates are high and that people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS can have increased suicidal ideation and resultant suicide risk. In this study, we evaluated the effect of a brief psychosocial intervention on preventing suicide ideation after a positive HIV test result. Suicidal ideation was assessed by both groups of patients having to complete a suicide risk screening scale (Annexure 1). The study was conducted at a university-affiliated hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Consenting adult patients (age 18 years and older) recently diagnosed as being HIV-positive following voluntary HIV counselling and testing were enrolled in the study. Participants (N=126) were assigned to standard post-test counselling (SPTC). Thereafter, every alternate patient (N= 64) was counselled using a brief suicide preventive intervention (BSPI). Patients were assessed at baseline, 72 hours later and 6 weeks after a positive HIV test result. The balance of 62 participants who received SPTC only were the control group, and compared with the BSPI group. Although both groups benefited from post-test counselling, results from the BSPI group demonstrated a clinically significant decrease in suicidal ideation over the time period studied. The results provide preliminary evidence on the efficacy of a BSPI for recently diagnosed vulnerable HIV-positive persons and the importance of educating such patients on suicide-prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-547
Number of pages5
JournalAfrican Journal of Psychiatry (South Africa)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Brief suicide risk screening
  • HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Brief suicide preventive intervention in newly diagnosed HIV-positive persons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this