HIV patients with psychiatric disorders are less likely to discontinue HAART

Seth Himelhoch, Clayton H. Brown, James Walkup, Geetanjali Chander, P. Todd Korthius, Joseph Afful, Kelly A. Gebo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We examined whether having a psychiatric disorder among HIV-infected individuals is associated with differential rates of discontinuation of HAART and whether the number of mental health visits impact these rates. DESIGN: This longitudinal study (fiscal year: 2000-2005) used discrete time survival analysis to evaluate time to discontinuation of HAART. The predictor variable was presence of a psychiatric diagnosis (serious mental illness versus depressive disorders versus none). SETTING: Five United States outpatient HIV sites affiliated with the HIV Research Network. PATIENTS: The sample consisted of 4989 patients. The majority was nonwhite (74.0%) and men (71.3%); 24.8% were diagnosed with a depressive disorder, and 9% were diagnosed with serious mental illness. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Time to discontinuation of HAART adjusting for demographic factors, injection drug use history, and nadir CD4 cell count. RESULTS: Relative to those with no psychiatric disorders, the hazard probability for discontinuation of HAART was significantly lower in the first and second years among those with SMI [adjusted odds ratio: first year, 0.57 (0.47-0.69); second year, 0.68 (0.52-0.89)] and in the first year among those with depressive disorders [adjusted odds ratio: first year, 0.61 (0.54-0.69)]. The hazard probabilities did not significantly differ among diagnostic groups in subsequent years. Among those with psychiatric diagnoses, those with six or more mental health visits in a year were significantly less likely to discontinue HAART compared with patients with no mental health visits. CONCLUSION: Individuals with psychiatric disorders were significantly less likely to discontinue HAART in the first and second years of treatment. Mental health visits are associated with decreased risk of discontinuing HAART.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1742
Number of pages8
Issue number13
StatePublished - Aug 24 2009


  • HIV
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Treatment outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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