1 Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

2 Department of Psychology, The University of Buckingham; and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, United Kingdom


In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is currently home to many people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and suicidal ideation is amongst the common early problems of newly diagnosed PLWHA. This reflects the importance of including psychotherapy in HIV care. In this regard, compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is the one that has not been a point of study for reducing suicidal risks in newly diagnosed PLWHA despite the relevance of CFT to the treatment/management of persons living with self-criticism or self-harm. To bridge this gap, we examined the use of CFT as an intervention against suicidal ideation in newly diagnosed PLWHA receiving antiretroviral therapy at the Adeoyo Maternity Teaching Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Twenty-two participants (mean age = 40 ± 5.6 years) with less than 1-month-old clinical diagnosis of HIV who have recently thought about suicide because of the new HIV-positive diagnosis were purposively sampled and randomly assigned into the intervention and control groups. The CFT module and scale for suicide ideation were the research instruments. All data collected were analysed using SPSS (v.22.0), and statistical significance was determined at P<0.05.

The findings established that after administering CFT to the intervention group, the mean score for suicidal ideation was significantly lower in the intervention group compared with that in the control group.

The results suggest that CFT has the potential to reduce suicidal ideation in newly diagnosed PLWHA; therefore, in addition to the antiretroviral therapy, the administration of CFT should be included in the early stage of HIV care, to reduce the risk of suicide that is associated with newly living with HIV/AIDS.