Responding to the threat of HIV among persons with mental illness and substance abuse

Charles D. Parry, Michael B. Blank, Anne L. Pithey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article discusses current knowledge regarding the threat of HIV among persons with mental illness and substance abuse, and strategies for reducing this threat. It contains a review of the prevalence and consequences of dual/triple diagnosis, HIV risk behaviour and current HIV risk-reduction interventions among persons with dual diagnosis and interventions for triply diagnosed individuals. RECENT FINDINGS: Many persons with dual diagnosis remain undetected and there is a high prevalence of sexual risk behaviours among persons with dual diagnosis. Case management and supportive housing programmes are feasible options for the delivery of HIV risk-reduction interventions among such patients, and the adaptation of integrated behavioural treatment interventions can improve behavioural and healthcare utilization outcomes. SUMMARY: The developing world continues to see an escalation in HIV incidence. A more complete understanding of mental health, substance use and HIV serostatus interactions is needed to serve vulnerable populations. Mental health status not only mediates HIV risk behaviours, but positive serostatus has various effects on mental health. Co-morbid substance abuse is common among HIV-positive individuals with mental illness, resulting in serious adverse effects. Separate services for individuals with co-occurring substance abuse are less effecttive than integrated treatment programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual diagnosis
  • HIV risk reduction
  • Severe mental illness
  • Substance use disorder
  • Triple diagnosis


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