Objective: Despite high rates of HIV infection among people with serious mental illness little is known about the provision of HIV related services in outpatient mental health settings. This study examined HIV service provision and staff training needs among New York State outpatient providers. Methods: An anonymous survey regarding patient characteristics, provision of routine HIV risk assessment, general HIV service provision, and staff training needs regarding HIV was sent to the directors of all New York State Office of Mental Health licensed and certified outpatient programs. Results: Less than one-third of respondents stated that HIV risk assessment was performed routinely upon intake. Programs that served more HIV identified patients were more likely to have staff trained in HIV service provision. The number of identified HIV infected patients also influenced the frequency with which programs stated that their staff needed additional training in HIV risk interviewing, with clinics serving over 100 known HIV infected patients annually reporting the least training need and clinics serving between 11-50 known HIV infected patients annually reporting the most training need. Conclusions: It appears that clinics with large numbers of known HIV infected patients have mobilized to deal with the unique needs of these patients by providing specialty services and training staff in HIV service provision. However, the majority of clinics have failed to realize that severe mental illness is associated with behaviors that place individuals at risk of HIV infection or else routine HIV risk assessment would be more common.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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