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Psychiatric context of acute/early HIV infection. The NIMH Multisite Acute HIV Infection Study: IV.

  • Author(s): Atkinson, J Hampton
  • Higgins, Jenny A
  • Vigil, Ofilio
  • Dubrow, Robert
  • Remien, Robert H
  • Steward, Wayne T
  • Casey, Corinna Young
  • Sikkema, Kathleen J
  • Correale, Jackie
  • Ake, Chris
  • McCutchan, J Allen
  • Kerndt, Peter R
  • Morin, Stephen F
  • Grant, Igor
  • et al.

Acute/early HIV infection is a period of high risk for HIV transmission. Better understanding of behavioral aspects during this period could improve interventions to limit further transmission. Thirty-four participants with acute/early HIV infection from six US cities were assessed with the Mini International Diagnostic Interview, Beck Depression Inventory II, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Brief COPE, and an in-depth interview. Most had a pre-HIV history of alcohol or substance use disorder (85%); a majority (53%) had a history of major depressive or bipolar disorder. However, post-diagnosis coping was predominantly adaptive, with only mild to moderate elevations of anxious or depressive mood. Respondents described challenges managing HIV in tandem with pre-existing substance abuse problems, depression, and anxiety. Integration into medical and community services was associated with adaptive coping. The psychiatric context of acute/early HIV infection may be a precursor to infection, but not necessarily a barrier to intervention to reduce forward transmission of HIV among persons newly infected.

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