Uganda: HIV Prevalent In Persons With Mental Illness


seek geneva; font-size: small;”>This study included first-time psychiatric admissions only, sickness a group whose HIV prevalence may not reflect the prevalence in persons with SMI in general.

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According to the authors of the study, “The persons with SMI might constitute a high-risk group for HIV.”

“We determined prevalence and correlates of HIV in both first-time and previous psychiatric admissions, in a psychiatric hospital in Uganda,” says Patric Lundberg, one of the authors.

It also revealed that HIV prevalence for SMI persons is 11.3 percent with men at 7.3 percent and women at 14.3 percent.

“Females had higher risk of HIV infection than males, after adjustment for age. Older patients had a higher risk of HIV infection than younger patients (40–49 vs. 18–29 years), after adjustment for sex,” said Lundberg.

These statistics were based on the cross-sectional study of HIV status in persons consecutively discharged from psychiatric admission wards in Butabika hospital, Uganda.

In the methods used, the authors used an inclusion criterion of persons aged 18–49 years suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or other non-substance-use-related psychosis.

They also used an exclusive criterion where the Mental incapacity to give informed consent. “Participants were HIV-tested, and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data were analyzed using logistic regression.”

However, the place of residence, marital status, income, education, occupation, psychiatric diagnosis and history of previous admission were not associated with HIV infection, after adjustment for sex and age.

This study confirms that persons admitted for SMI in Uganda have higher HIV prevalence than persons in the general population, irrespective of previous admissions.

But the excess HIV prevalence is mainly confined to women.

The authors reveal that the findings call for the integration of HIV prevention, testing and care with mental health services in settings with generalized HIV epidemics.

“Further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the increased HIV prevalence in women with SMI in Uganda, and to identify effective community-based interventions for this vulnerable group.”


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