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Cad Saude Publica. 2008;24 Suppl 4:s607-20.

HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C prevalence among patients with mental illness: a review of the literature.

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  • 1Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brasil.


A limited number of studies worldwide have investigated the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C infection among psychiatric patients. However, prevalence of these infections in the population with chronic mental illness has not been clearly established. Most of the published papers are from developed countries and have derived from relatively small and non-representative samples. We performed a systematic review of the published literature to identify studies on these infectious diseases within psychiatric populations in Brazil and other developing countries. Overall, prevalence rates varied from 0% to 29% for HIV; 1.6% to 66% for HBV; 0.4% to 38% for HCV; and 1.1% to 7.6% for syphilis. Several risk factors were identified and discussed, although sampling limitations restrict the generalization of study findings. This review highlights the lack of information on the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases and their associated factors among persons with chronic mental illness and identifies gaps in the knowledge base in both developing and developed countries.

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