AIDS patients compared with others seen in psychiatric consultation

Mary Alice O'Dowd, F. Patrick McKegney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


To identify similarities and differences between AIDS patients and non-AIDS patients, all psychiatric consultations done in one year in a large voluntary general hospital were reviewed. A total of 93 consultations were done on 67 AIDS patients and 138 consultations were done on 121 comparably aged patients without AIDS. The most common AIDS risk factor was intravenous drug use. The AIDS patients were more likely to be Hispanic and male than were the non-AIDS patients. The AIDS group was also more likely to have a diagnosis of organic mental disorder, particularly dementia. There were no other differences in Axis I diagnoses, including depression, substance abuse, and adjustment disorder. Suicidal risk was no greater in the AIDS patients than in the non-AIDS patients. Axis II diagnoses were made more often in the non-AIDS patients, who also required more one-to-one nursing supervision. Consultation in AIDS patients took more staff time, and AIDS patients were more likely to have required one or more repeat consultations within the period of the study, thus creating a heavier burden on consultation staff. Although these predominantly heterosexual, Hispanic, and drug-using hospitalized AIDS patients do not show significantly higher rates of psychiatric morbidity than other, non-AIDS patients, except for more organic mental disorders, AIDS seems to create a much higher demand for psychiatric consultation services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral hospital psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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