A multisite study of the prevalence of HIV with rapid testing in mental health settings

Michael B. Blank, Seth S. Himelhoch, Alexandra B. Balaji, David S. Metzger, Lisa B. Dixon, Charles E. Rose, Emeka Oraka, Annet Davis-Vogel, William W. Thompson, James D. Heffelfinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objectives. We estimated HIV prevalence and risk factors among persons receiving mental health treatment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland, January 2009 to August 2011.

Methods. We used a multisite, cross-sectional design stratified by clinical setting. We tested 1061 individuals for HIV in university-based inpatient psychiatric units (n = 287), intensive case-management programs (n = 273), and community mental health centers (n = 501).

Results. Fifty-one individuals (4.8%) were HIV-infected. Confirmed positive HIV tests were 5.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.7%, 9.4%) for inpatient units, 5.1% (95% CI = 3.1%, 8.5%) for intensive case-management programs, and 4.0% (95% CI = 2.6%, 6.1%) for community mental health centers. Characteristics associated with HIV included Black race, homosexual or bisexual identity, and HCV infection.

Conclusions. HIV prevalence for individuals receiving mental health services was about 4 times as high as in the general population. We found a positive association between psychiatric symptom severity and HIV infection, indicating that engaging persons with mental illness in appropriate mental health treatment may be important to HIV prevention. These findings reinforce recommendations for routine HIV testing in all clinical settings to ensure that HIV-infected persons receiving mental health services are identified and referred to timely infectious disease care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2377-2384
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 American Public Health Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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