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Issue: Issue 4 (2017)

Letter to the Editor

Psychiatry and HIV infection: what changed?

Inês Souto Braz, André Bonito Ferreira, André Ribeirinho Marques, Sérgio Dinis, Isabel Nabais, Graça Gonçalves, and Sílvia Ouakinin
Background: The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a chronic disease with significant comorbidity with mental disorders. Patients with mental health problems are at an increased risk of contracting HIV and infected patients are also at an increased risk of developing mental health problems, both cases contributing to a worse global prognosis. This cross-sectional study intends to characterize a sample of patients followed in a psychiatric department in order to understand the crucial role of Liaison Psychiatry in this area. 
Methods: Retrospective review of clinical records of patients followed between June and December of 2016 and assessment of multiple clinical and sociodemographic variables. 
Results: There were 117 psychiatric appointments for 69 HIV-infected patients. The average age was 51.6 (±9.86) years and the gender distribution was balanced. We found that 69.5% of HIV-infected patients presented affective or neurotic disorders (ICD-10), 73.9% were under antidepressant treatment and 72.1% under psychotherapy. Comparing HIV-infected patients with and without antidepressant therapy, we found that patients under antidepressant treatment had a longer duration of HIV infection (p=0.038). All patients presented stable immunological status. 
Conclusions: The paradigm shift of HIV infection—the transition to a chronic disease model—required an adaptation by healthcare providers. As depression is the most prevalent psychiatric condition in this population, its early detection is crucial in order to improve disease outcome and quality of life. 

Keywords: Psychiatry, HIV, Liaison Psychiatry, Depression.

International Journal of Clinical Neurosciences and Mental Health 2017; 4:6
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21035/ijcnmh.2017.4.6
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