Risk factors for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C among the chronic mentally ill
AuthorDavidson, S; Judd, F; Jolley, D; Hocking, B; Thompson, S; Hyland, B
Source TitleAUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY
PublisherBLACKWELL SCIENCE ASIA
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsDavidson, S; Judd, F; Jolley, D; Hocking, B; Thompson, S; Hyland, B, Risk factors for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C among the chronic mentally ill, AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, 2001, 35 (2), pp. 203 - 209
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OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to document the prevalence of risk factors for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C among people with chronic mental illness treated in a community setting. METHOD: 234 patients attending four community mental health clinics in the North-western Health Care Network in Melbourne, Australia, completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire which covered demographics, risk behaviour and psychiatric diagnosis. RESULTS: The sample was 58% male, and 79% of the sample had a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia. Forty-three per cent of mentally ill men and 51% of mentally ill women in the survey had been sexually active in the 12 months preceding the survey. One-fifth of mentally ill men and 57% of mentally ill women who had sex with casual partners never used condoms. People with mental illness were eight times more likely than the general population to have ever injected illicit drugs and the mentally ill had a lifetime prevalence of sharing needles of 7.4%. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of risk behaviours among the study group indicate that people with chronic mental illness should be regarded as a high-risk group for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. It is essential that adequate resources and strategies are targeted to the mentally ill as they are for other high-risk groups.
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