People living with a mental illness are disproportionately vulnerable to human immunodeficiency virus. The current study sought to examine the influence of psychiatric disorder, substance use disorder, and gender on risky sexual behavior in this vulnerable population. Participants were 228 female and 202 male outpatients (66% mood disorder, 34% schizophrenia), each of whom took part in a Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV and a comprehensive assessment of sexual risk behavior. Univariate and multivariate analyses tested a priori hypotheses. The results indicated that risk behavior was more frequent among patients diagnosed with a mood disorder (compared with those diagnosed with schizophrenia) or a substance use disorder (compared with those without a comorbid disorder) or both. We recommend routine human immunodeficiency virus risk screening and risk reduction programs for this vulnerable population.
*Center for Health and Behavior, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY; †Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT; and ‡Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD.
This research was supported by grants R01-MH54929 and K02-MH01582 from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Send reprint requests to Michael P. Carey, PhD, Center for Health and Behavior, 430 Huntington Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-2340.