Background: While widely acknowledged to be an important clinical and public health issue, HIV assessment, counseling, and testing for the seriously mentally ill has not been well studied. Objective: To determine what proportion and which inpatients with schizophrenia have been recently tested for HIV. Method: A sample of 300 inpatients with schizophrenia were recruited from four general hospitals in New York City over a one year period. After confirmation of diagnosis with a structured interview, and elicitation of sociodemographic and drug use information, medical record review identified recent HIV testing. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify subgroups more likely to be tested. Findings: Recent HIV testing had been performed for 17% of the sample and was concentrated among those with higher documented risks. The majority of patients remain untested even in groups with direct risks, such as injection drug use, and indirect risks, such as frequent cocaine use in last year. Some evidence was found that white patients at risk may be less likely to be tested than Hispanic or African American patients. Conclusions: Aggressive efforts are needed to improve knowledge of HIV status among acutely ill patients with schizophrenia.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to the inpatient staff and patients at the participating hospitals. Support came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. The perspectives and conclusions presented in this paper are solely those of the authors.
This study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute for Mental Health Center for the Organization and Financing of Care for the Severely Mentally Ill, Rutgers University.