A recent study claims that mentally ill people are more likely to be tested for HIV than people without these disorders. Scientists also discovered that people suffering from more serious disorders such as bipolar disease and schizophrenia had the utmost rate of HIV testing.
The team from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Penn Medicine examined national data from 21,785 adults from the National Health Interview Survey in 2007. The version of the survey done in 2007 is the most recent survey that includes information on HIV testing and on diagnoses of mental health.
The team of researchers discovered that mentally ill people are more likely to be tested for HIV because 15 percent of the 21,785 adults stated they have a psychiatric disorder. Out of those 15 percent, 89 percent showed symptoms of anxiety or/and depression, 2.6 percent had schizophrenia spectrum disorder and 8.5 percent had bipolar disorder.
Among people reporting to have at least one mental disorder, 48.5 percent had undergone an HIV test. The authors of the study claimed that the 48.5 percent rate compares with a 35 percent testing rate among people without mental disorders. More particularly 47 percent of individuals with anxiety or/and depression, 63 percent of individuals suffering from bipolar disorder and 64 percent of individuals with schizophrenia claimed to have been tested for HIV.
Associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and senior author of the study, Michael B. Blank said:
“Our study shows that persons with mental illness and/or their care providers recognize that they are at higher risk and should be tested. However, by no means we should be complacent since these results may in large part be due to individual vigilance. The fact is there are few formal prevention and screening efforts targeted at this at-risk population. In light of the fact that mentally ill people are more likely to engage in risky behavior, mental health providers should consider routinely offering HIV/AIDS testing, something that does not typically occur now.”
Mental disorders and HIV are often taking place at the same time regarding health conditions. Almost have the people suffering from HIV are also mentally ill and about 5 to 23 percent of people that are mentally ill being infected with HIV.
Other researchers have discovered that individuals that are mentally ill are more likely to engage in behaviors that are high in risk and associated with HIV transmission such as sex with multiple partners, injection drug use and unprotected sex.