HIV Risk Behaviors and Their Correlates Among HIV-positive Adults with Serious Mental Illness

Published in: AIDS and Behavior, v. 7, no. 1, Mar. 2003, p. 29-40

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Joan S. Tucker, David E. Kanouse, Angela Miu, Paul Koegel, Greer Sullivan

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HIV risk behaviors and their correlates were examined in a sample of 154 HIV-seropositive and seriously mentally ill adults (83% male, 56% sexually active). Most sexually active participants engaged in HIV risk behavior during the past 6 months, although the rates of these behaviors were generally not higher, and in some cases were lower, than those reported in studies of otherwise comparable noninfected people. Variables significantly associated with one or more HIV risk behaviors in bivariate analyses included being female, any limitation in instrumental functioning, not having a bipolar disorder, more psychotic mental health symptoms, problem drinking, and not receiving HIV counseling. The latter three variables accounted for 22% of the variance in the total number of HIV risk behaviors. Interventions to reduce risky sexual practices may be most appropriately provided through public mental health systems, given that this is the primary setting in which seriously mentally ill adults receive formal treatment.

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