Perceived need for and use of mental health services by women living with or at risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection.

P. Schuman, S. E. Ohmit, J. Moore, E. Schoenbaum, R. Boland, A. Rompalo, L. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To determine prevalence of and factors associated with perceived need for and use of mental health services and use of psychotherapeutic medications among women in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemiology Research Study (HERS). METHODS: We interviewed 871 HIV-seropositive and 439 demographically and behaviorally similar seronegative women at baseline regarding demographics, psychosocial measures, substance use, medical history, and use of health care services and medications. RESULTS: Thirty-eight percent of HIV-seropositive women and 35% of seronegative women (p = 0.33) reported needing mental health services in the prior six months. Women who were older, were white or Latina (compared with African American), had some college education, had less social support, and reported recent negative life events or had CES-D scores higher than 15 (suggesting depression) were more likely to report needing mental health services. Sixty-seven percent of seropositive and 65% of seronegative women who reported needing services (p = 0.69) reported obtaining services. Women who were white (compared with Latina or African American) and had more education, more social support, and health insurance were more likely to obtain services. Eighteen percent of seropositive and 13% of seronegative women (p = 0.006) reported current use of psychotherapeutic medications, especially antidepressants and antianxiety medications. Women who reported use of medications were more likely to report recent negative life events; were older, white, or Latina; had more education, less social support, CES-D scores higher than 15, and health insurance. CONCLUSION: Women both living with or at risk of HIV perceived a need for and used mental health services in association with negative life events, social isolation, and depressive symptoms. Need for and use of services differed by race/ethnicity, education, and availability of social support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-8
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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