History of the Division
The Provincial Government of the Western Cape initially funded GSH-HIV Neuropsychiatry in 2006 as a response to the needs of persons living with HIV (PLWH) with severe mental illness. In response to this stimulus, and the growing recognition of the burden of mental disorders in PLWH with depressive, anxiety, substance abuse and neurocognitive disorders, we have built on this platform to develop a program of clinical service, teaching and research relevant to the field of HIV and mental health. As the Division has grown, we have been able to extend our service, teaching and research platform to include old age psychiatry and related degenerative disorders, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, brain tumours, neuro-inflammatory diseases (such as lupus), metabolic disorders, and vascular brain conditions.
We have secured funding from external agencies including USAID/PEPFAR, MRC, the NRF and the NIMH. Our clinical platform extends to numerous hospitals and clinics in greater Cape Town. Our teaching and research program has led to several large grant awards, and several smaller projects. In the areas of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, HIV and mental illness, HIV and adherence, and HIV and brief interventions, our work is pioneering in the region, with growing international recognition.
The Division of Neuropsychiatry is based at Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory. Our staff are housed in the footprint of the wider Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, at J-block, Groote Schuur Hospital. The J-block has been the home to psychiatry for approximately 20 years. Some of our staff have offices in a condemned prefab building in the J-block, but any home is better than none at all!
Our services span 5 tertiary inpatient beds at Ward G22, HIV and neuropsychiatry liaison at Groote Schuur Hospital, and several outpatient clinics. These are based mainly at J-block outpatients department, but we also support the Infectious Diseases service every Tuesday at general outpatients, as well as provide an outreach support services to Mitchells Plain Hospital (weekly) and Valkenberg Hospital (monthly).