Utilization of psychiatric services among low-income HIV-infected patients with psychiatric comorbidity

Marie Soller, Neda Kharrazi, Diane Prentiss, Stephen Cummings, Gladys Balmas, Cheryl Koopman, Dennis Israelski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


HIV-infected individuals face a tremendous burden of psychiatric comorbidity. This study evaluates a community health care system's effort to screen for psychiatric disorders among patients at an HIV clinic and evaluate adherence to psychiatric service utilization. Methods: Standardized screening measures were used to identify participants who met diagnostic symptom criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD) and depression. All participants who screened positive were referred for psychiatric follow-up. Rates of utilization were measured and barriers to adherence were investigated. Results: Of the 210 participants, 118 patients met screening criteria for PTSD, ASD, and/or depression, and 116 of these had medical records available for review. Of the 116 patients with psychiatric comorbidity, 46.6% saw a psychiatrist and/or were prescribed a psychiatric medication. Thirty-two percent of Latinos, 40.5% of African Americans, and 38.5% of heterosexuals utilized referred psychiatric services, and these rates were significantly less than their counterparts. One hundred patients were seen by a social worker. Discussion: While a large burden of psychiatric comorbidity exists among this population of HIV-positive patients, only half adhered to recommended psychiatric services referrals. Further research is warranted to examine cost-effective interventions to maximize psychiatric screening, referral, and follow-up with mental health services in this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1351-1359
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute stress disorder
  • HIV and psychiatric comorbidity
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychiatric services utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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