Rates of HIV High Among Users of UK Mental Health Services

HIV is 2.5 times more common in first-time UK mental health service users vs the general population.

HealthDay News Higher rates of HIV diagnoses are seen among users of U.K. mental health services versus the general population, according to a study published online April 25 in BMJ Open.

Margaret Heslin, Ph.D., from King’s College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the prevalence of HIV in a cohort of people who used secondary mental health services. The analysis included 181,177 people who had contact with mental health services for the first time between 2007 and 2018.

The researchers found that 2.47 percent of the cohort had a recorded HIV diagnosis in national HIV surveillance data at any time (before, during, or after contact with mental health services). In people with a diagnosed substance use disorder, HIV point prevalence was highest (3.77 percent). More than one-quarter of the sample did not have a formal mental health diagnosis (27 percent), but even when excluding those individuals, the point prevalence remained high at 2.31 percent. Just over two-thirds of people had their diagnosis of HIV before contact with mental health services (67 percent).

“The prevalence of HIV in people who have had contact with mental health services was approximately 2.5 times higher than the general population in the same geographical area,” the authors write.

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