People with mental disease are at higher risk of being HIV positive
According to the study published in the journal Psychiatric Services on Jan. 17, 2017, people with severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression with psychosis might be up to 15 times likely to be HIV positive compared to general population.
The study was completed by researchers from UC San Francisco who reviewed the medical records of 56,895 patients. The participants were aged 18 to 67, with 42 percent over the age of 48.
"People with severe mental illness have higher rates of unsafe behaviors that put them at risk for HIV infection. This includes engaging in unprotected sex with HIV positive partners and partners of unknown HIV status, injecting drugs, using substances in the context of sexual activity and episodes of sexual violence," said Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS, of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry.
The study also revealed that people with mental disorders are only marginally more likely to be tested for the virus, 6.7 percent compared to 5.2 percent HIV-testing rate among general population in 2011. However, the prevalence of HIV infection among people with mental disorders differs from 1.8 to 6 percent, which is several times higher than median in the US.