Disparities in mental health care among HIV-infected youth

J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care. 2014 Jan-Feb;13(1):29-34. doi: 10.1177/2325957413488172. Epub 2013 May 21.


Objective: Untreated psychiatric illness is detrimental to the health and well-being of HIV-infected youth. This study examines the relationships between social and demographic variables and the rates of psychiatric treatment among HIV-infected youth.

Methods: Analyses are from a cross-sectional survey of 1706 HIV-infected youth (13-26 years) in care at treatment sites or affiliates of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions from 2010 to 2011. Among the youth who reported recent significant mental health symptoms, comparisons on demographic variables (including race, ethnicity, language spoken, level of education, sexual orientation, and household income) were made.

Results: Psychiatrically symptomatic black youth were significantly less likely than symptomatic nonblack peers to receive mental health care (37.4% versus 48.6%) and psychiatric medications (19.3% versus 26.9%).

Conclusion: Care providers should be alerted to the potential disparities in mental health care treatment that exist for black youth living with HIV.

Keywords: African American; HIV; disparities; mental health care; psychiatric medication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / administration & dosage
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Psychotropic Drugs