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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

South Carolina: Study Examines Psychopathology and HIV Diagnosis Among Older Adults in the United States

Dr. Monique J. Brown, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, has published a study on disparities by age, sex and race/ethnicity in the association between psychopathology and HIV among older adults. The team included members of multiple institutions and published their findings in Aging & Mental Health.

With 17 percent of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the U.S. occurring among adults ages 50 and older, analysts have observed differences in age, sex, and race/ethnicity in this population. This group also faces co-morbid mental health and substance use disorders.

With this study, the researchers used data from the Cerner Corporation’s Health Facts database to investigate the association between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder (SUD), depression, and HIV diagnosis among older adults. They also looked at disparities by age, sex and race/ethnicity.

Dr. Brown and her team found positive associations between GAD, PTSD, SUD, depression and HIV. They also found differences by age, sex and race/ethnicity within these associations. For example, after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity and marital status, men who were diagnosed with GAD were 10 times more likely to have an HIV diagnosis compared to men who were not diagnosed with GAD. Further, women who were diagnosed with GAD were five times more likely to have an HIV diagnosis compared to women who were not diagnosed with GAD.

The authors suggest that HIV prevention and intervention programs for older adults address GAD, PTSD, SUD and depression and consider the age, sex and racial/ethnic disparities in the association between psychopathology and HIV.

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