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Psychosomatics. 1997 Sep-Oct;38(5):423-32.

The effectiveness of psychiatric treatment for HIV-infected patients.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The study sought to determine the effectiveness of a model program of psychiatric care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. This was a cohort study of 126 HIV-positive outpatients referred for psychiatric evaluation and treatment (average follow up of 14 months) in a HIV-dedicated primary-care outpatient clinic in the inner city. A global outcome measure (encompassing symptom relief, functioning, and HIV-risk behaviors), and a measure of abstinence from alcohol and illicit substances were used. Fifty percent of patients improved, with 19% "nearly well" at follow-up. Abstinence was achieved 48% of the time. Good compliance with treatment and the absence of injection drug use were the primary predictors of good outcomes. Of the compliant patients, 94% improved, with 45.7% being nearly well. Psychiatric treatment of HIV-infected patients is effective when located in the HIV primary-care setting and administered by a multidisciplinary team under the direction of a psychiatrist, using evidence-based interventions.

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