Title

Psychiatric symptomatology, behavioral risk, and HIV/STD status among dually diagnosed individuals with serious mental illness

Date of Completion

January 2001

Keywords

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Health Sciences, Public Health|Psychology, Clinical

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Given the enormous impact of serious mental illness (SMI) on functioning, it is not surprising that research has estimated the prevalence of STDs among this group to be much higher than among the general population. The present study sought to clarify the relationships between diagnosis, symptomatology, AIDS knowledge, attitudes, engagement in STD risk behaviors, and HIV, HBV, and HCV status, using a sample of dually diagnosed individuals with SMI. This sample engaged in a number of risk behaviors, displayed significant misconceptions regarding safe sexual practices, and did not believe that they were at higher risk for infection, despite the fact that a high percentage of this group was, in fact, infected with either HIV, HBV, or HCV. Overall, women displayed more sexual risk behaviors, and men displayed more IV drug related-risk behaviors. The best predictor of STD infection was level of drug related risk, suggesting that STD interventions that target individuals with SMI should focus on drug-related risk behaviors. ^