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HIV and People With Serious Mental Illness: The Public Sector’s Role in Reducing HIV Risk and Improving Care

Sullivan, Greer; Koegel, Paul; Kanouse, David E.; Cournos, Francine; McKinnon, Karen M.; Young, Alexander S.; Bean, Donna

Objective: The paper discusses issues related to the detection, prevention of transmission, and treatment of human immunodefiency virus (HIV) infection among persons with serious mental illness and suggests ways public mental health systems can address these issues. Methods: MEDLINE was searched from 1980 through 1998, and all pertinent references were reviewed. Results: Persons with severe mental illness are at greatly increased risk of HIV infection due to increased likelihood of high-risk sexual behaviors and injection drug use. The formidable barriers to detection and effective treatment of HIV that exist in this population can be attributed to the unique characteristics of this population, lack of knowledge and expertise among mental and physical health care providers, and fragmented mental and physical health care systems. Conclusions: In the last five years, treatments for HIV that are far more efficacious than earlier treatments have become available, making it more important for HIV infection be detected and treated among persons with serious mental illness. Public mental health systems need to implement active prevention policies and practices, educate both mental health and physical health care providers about key treatment issues, and develop effective linkages between mental and physical health care providers and systems.

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Also Published In

Title
Psychiatric Services
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1176/ps.50.5.648

More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychiatry
Published Here
September 28, 2017
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