186466 Psychological distress in HIV-affected persons self-enrolling in HIV-related mental health care

Monday, October 27, 2008: 11:30 AM

Andreia Alexander , Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Enbal Shacham, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Tania B. Basta, PhD, MPH , School of Health Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
BACKGROUND: A large body of HIV and mental health research has focused on individuals with HIV. However, many seronegative individuals are affected by HIV as well (i.e., partners, family members, children, and caregivers). The purpose of this study was to explore psychological distress symptoms experienced by HIV-affected persons.

METHODS: Data were collected from 206 HIV-affected persons who self-enrolled into mental health care at an HIV/AIDS community based mental health clinic. Univariate tests were conducted to explore the differences in symptoms of psychological distress 1) among affected individuals and individuals living with HIV, and 2) among affected individuals and the normative sample for the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI).

RESULTS: This sample presented with moderate levels of psychological distress across all ten dimensions of the BSI. In comparison with the normative sample, this sample showed significantly lower levels of psychological distress across two dimensions: depression (p < .05) and anxiety (p < .05). Symptoms of paranoid ideation (p < .05), however, were significantly higher compared to the normative sample. There were no significant differences across all ten dimensions when this sample was compared to the HIV-infected sample.

DISCUSSION: It is evident that HIV-affected persons experience moderate levels of psychological distress. Since HIV-affected and infected persons are closely connected, their psychological health may have an effect on the psychological health of the HIV-infected person as well. Thus, these findings provide public health professionals with additional considerations that may increase the effectiveness of their efforts when dealing with issues that face these populations.

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify symptoms of psychological distress faced by seronegative individuals affected by HIV. 2.Discuss the importance of including affected seronegative individuals in HIV/AIDS mental health treatment programs. 3.Compare levels of psychological distress between seronegative and seropositive individuals seeking HIV-related mental health care.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Master of Public Health degree, and I am currently working on a PhD in Health Behavior that focuses on HIV and sexual health. I have worked with the mental health clinic from which the data for this presentation came for the past two years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.