Background The prevalence of mental health problems (MHP) in PLWH is significantly higher than in the general population. Little is known of the prevalence of MHP and experience of patients of MH services locally.
Aim This study aimed to audit the provision of MH care in HIV-positive inpatients locally against 2011 BPS standards.
Methods We undertook a retrospective notes review of HIV-positive inpatients between 15/07/2015 – 30/11/2015. The following data were collected: demographics, HIV parameters, substance misuse, and MH history. Phone interviews were held to obtain feedback on patients’ experiences of MH care. Statistical analysis was undertaken using chi-square or Fisher’s exact test.
Results Of seventy-three patients 86% were male (n = 63) and 80% UK-born Caucasian (n = 58). Median CD4 was 495 cells/mm3 (range: 8–1847); HIV-1 viral load was undetectable in 78% (n = 57); 8% were HCV antibody positive (n = 6); 3% homeless (n = 2), 26% reported alcohol excess (n = 19), 4% injection drug use (IDU) (n = 3), 32% (n = 23) active and 38% (n = 28) previous MHP. Only IDU was significantly associated with active MHP, (p = 0.01). Of 15 patients reporting MHP who provided feedback, 6 (40%) felt healthcare professionals (HCPs) had not given them sufficient opportunity to discuss their psychological wellbeing and 40% (n = 6) reported experiencing stigma from HCPs.
Conclusion Results suggest a high prevalence of MHP in this cohort. Many reported difficulties discussing MHPs with HCPs. We have therefore initiated a pilot joint HIV/Psychiatric clinic to improve access to MH services.