Differences in HIV Care Between Patients with and Without Severe Mental Illness
Published In: Psychiatric Services, v. 58, no. 5, May 2007, p. 681-688
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006
OBJECTIVE: This study explored how HIV care differs for infected persons with and without severe mental illness. METHODS: Data were obtained through interviews with and chart review of 295 patients with severe mental illness and HIV from public mental health agencies in Los Angeles County and New York City. Data were compared with data from 1,294 HIV patients without severe mental illness from a separate national probability sample. Measures were difficulty obtaining care, whether patients recommend their HIV care provider, hospital problem score, functional health status, and disability days. RESULTS: In Los Angeles, HIV patients with severe mental illness were more likely than those without severe mental illness to have difficulty obtaining care (p<.001); to not recommend their provider (10% versus 5%, p=.007); and to have problematic hospital care (p=.001), poor health status (p=.001), and more disability days (p<.001). In New York City, HIV patients with severe mental illness were more likely than patients without severe mental illness to have difficulty obtaining care (p=.002) and not recommend their provider (p=.02). The relationship between severe mental illness and health status in Los Angeles and access in New York City became insignificant after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, drug use, and CD4 cell count. Further adjustment for higher case management rates among HIV patients with severe mental illness reduced disparities only in the West. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with severe mental illness experienced more problems with HIV care than patients without severe mental illness, although high case management rates for patients with severe mental illness may have offset some problems.