Medical clinic characteristics and access to behavioral health services for persons with HIV

Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Apr;59(4):400-7. doi: 10.1176/ps.2008.59.4.400.


Objective: Many persons with HIV do not receive needed behavioral health services. This study examined the impact of medical clinic characteristics on access to mental health and substance abuse care for persons with HIV.

Methods: This was a longitudinal survey of patients and clinic directors participating in the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, a national probability sample of persons in care for HIV between 1996 and 1998 (N=2,031). Primary outcomes were receipt of outpatient mental health specialist care, outpatient substance abuse care, and abstinence from substance use in the past 30 days.

Results: After adjustment for patient characteristics, the likelihood of care by a mental health specialist was higher for patients in HIV specialty clinics (odds ratio [OR]=2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.2-3.5) and clinics with a combination of on-site case management and affiliated mental health care (OR=2.3, CI 1.3-4.4, for off-site affiliated care; OR=2.1, CI=1.2-3.7, for on-site care). Outpatient substance abuse care also was more likely for patients in clinics with on-site case management and affiliated substance abuse care (OR=4.3, CI=1.5-12.2, for off-site affiliated care; OR=3.2, CI=1.3-8.0, for on-site care). In a subgroup of persons reporting active substance use, care in clinics with on-site case management predicted 30-day abstinence from substances at follow-up (OR=1.7, CI=1.1-2.5).

Conclusions: The organizational structure of medical clinics can have an important effect on use of mental health and substance abuse specialist care.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support*
  • Specialization
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • United States