HIV patients with psychiatric disorders are less likely to discontinue HAART

Research Activities, April 2010, No. 356

Patients with HIV infection and psychiatric disorders are significantly less likely to discontinue highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) during the first and second years of treatment. A partial explanation for this may be the advantage of their mental health visits, suggests a new study. The researchers examined time to HAART discontinuation among a sample of 4,989 patients with HIV infection, who sought care at five outpatient HIV sites. About one-fourth were diagnosed with depressive disorder and 9 percent were diagnosed with a serious mental illness. During the first and second years of HIV therapy, patients with serious mental illness were significantly less likely to discontinue their HIV medications when compared with those without any psychiatric disorders. Those suffering from depression were significantly less to discontinue their HIV medications during the first year compared with those without any mental health disorders.

Having six or more mental health visits each year was also associated with significantly less likelihood of discontinuing HIV therapy compared with having no mental health visits among those with mental illness. The findings support ongoing and consistent mental health treatment for patients with HIV infection, particularly those suffering from various mental health disorders, note the researchers.

Their study was supported in part by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16097) to the Rutgers University Center for Research and Education on Mental Health Therapeutics (CERT). For more information on the CERTs program visit the Centers for Education & Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) Web site.

More details are in "HIV patients with psychiatric disorders are less likely to discontinue HAART," by Seth Himelhoch, M.D., M.P.H., Clayton H. Brown, Ph.D., James Walkup, Ph.D., and others in AIDS 23, pp. 1735-1742, 2009.

Current as of April 2010
Internet Citation: HIV patients with psychiatric disorders are less likely to discontinue HAART: Research Activities, April 2010, No. 356. April 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/apr10/0410RA36.html