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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2019 Jan;33(1):1-13. doi: 10.1089/apc.2018.0096.

Mental Health Diagnoses, Symptoms, and Service Utilization in US Youth with Perinatal HIV Infection or HIV Exposure.

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1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago Children's Hospital, Chicago, Illinois.
2 Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
3 Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
4 Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
5 Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
6 Department of Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York.
7 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.


Youth perinatally HIV infected (PHIV) or HIV exposed, but uninfected (PHEU), are aging into adolescence and adulthood with multiple complex risk factors for mental health (MH) problems and poor MH treatment utilization. Our aims were to estimate prevalence of MH diagnoses, clinically significant symptoms, and MH treatment utilization among youth with PHIV and among PHEU youth, 10-22 years old. We also aimed to identify correlates of diagnoses and treatment utilization. Analyses of data from standardized interviews, behavioral assessments, and chart review of 551 youth revealed that 36% had a previous or current MH diagnosis, with no significant HIV status group differences. Prevalence of clinically significant symptoms was 15% for both groups, of whom a third had no diagnosis, and half were not receiving treatment. Among youth with a current MH diagnosis, those with PHIV had greater utilization of services than PHEU youth (67% vs. 51%; pā€‰=ā€‰0.04). Factors associated with MH diagnoses and/or treatment utilization included caregiver characteristics, age and sex of child, HIV status, and stressful life events. Prevalence of MH diagnoses was higher than in the general population, but lower than in similar perinatally HIV-exposed cohorts, with some unmet service needs, particularly in PHEU youth. Family characteristics warrant careful consideration in early diagnosis and treatment of MH problems among youth affected by HIV.


mental health diagnoses; mental health treatment; perinatal HIV

[Available on 2020-01-01]

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