The association of psychiatric disorders and HIV infection in the correctional setting

Ann Epidemiol. 2003 Oct;13(9):606-12. doi: 10.1016/S1047-2797(03)00061-9.


Purpose: Psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, have been associated with both HIV-associated risk behaviors and HIV infection. While the US prison population is reported to exhibit elevated rates of HIV/AIDS and most psychiatric disorders, scarce information currently exists on the association of these conditions in the prison setting. The present study examined the association of six major psychiatric disorders with HIV infection in one of the nation's largest prison populations.

Methods: The study population consisted of 336,668 Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates who were incarcerated for any duration between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2001. Information on medical conditions and sociodemographic factors was obtained from an institution-wide medical information system.

Results: Inmates diagnosed with HIV infection exhibited elevated rates of major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and non-schizophrenic psychotic disorder. These rates persisted in stratified analyses and in a multivariate analysis that statistically adjusted for gender, race, and age category.

Conclusion: The present cross-sectional study's finding of a positive association between HIV infection and psychiatric diagnoses among inmates holds both clinical and public health relevance. It will be important for future investigations to prospectively assess the underlying mechanisms of these associations in the correctional setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prisoners*
  • Texas / epidemiology