Monday, December 28, 2015

Factors Influencing the Delivery of HIV-Related Services to Severely Mentally Ill Individuals: The Provider's Perspective

Individuals with severe mental illnesses (SMI) are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV infection but are not consistently engaged in HIV-related services.

To understand factors influencing implementation of HIV-related services to individuals with SMI, we conducted a series of focus groups with multidisciplinary clinicians and staff serving individuals with SMI in outpatient, emergency, acute inpatient, and chronic inpatient levels of care.

Six focus groups with 30 participants were conducted, audiotaped, and transcribed. Our qualitative analysis drew on Grounded Theory. Using NVivo Version 9, coding was conducted by the first and senior authors; interrater reliability was verified by running Coding Comparison queries.

The providers' narratives highlighted (1) patient-related factors, (2) stigma, and (3) administrative factors as themes particularly relevant to the delivery of HIV-related services to individuals with SMI. The reported relevance of these factors ranged across levels of care, from creating multiple barriers in the outpatient care to relatively seamless and effective delivery of full continuum of HIV-related services in the chronic inpatient environment, where adequate structural support is provided.

Providers' narratives suggest that effective delivery of HIV-related services for individuals with SMI requires sustained structural support that is coordinated across levels of psychiatric care and tailored to individual patient's needs. The narratives also suggest that such support is currently not available.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, American University, Washington, DC.
  • 2Washington DC HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration, Washington, DC.
  • 3National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD.
  • 4National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD; Department of Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA. Electronic address: 

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