Health profiles and associated service use among adults with HIV and intellectual and developmental disabilities

AIDS. 2017 Mar 13;31(5):697-705. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001361.


Objective(s): Owing to the commonly held notion that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have low risk of HIV acquisition, we compared the prevalence of HIV infection among people with and without IDD. We also examined health status and health service use among the HIV-infected group.

Design: Population-based cohort study using linked administrative health and social services databases.

Methods: We compared HIV prevalence between Ontario adults with IDD (n = 64 008) and a 20% random sample of Ontario adults without IDD. Among the HIV-infected group, we compared adults with and without IDD in terms of comorbid chronic physical conditions and mental health disorders, as well as use of overall health services, mental health services, and HIV-specific services.

Results: HIV prevalence per 100 000 population did not differ for adults with IDD [163.38 (95% confidence interval: 132.27, 199.6)] and without IDD [172.45 (95 confidence interval: 167.48, 177.53)]. Among the HIV-infected group, those with IDD had more comorbid chronic physical conditions and mental health disorders. They also had greater use of overall health services and mental health services. Likelihood of use of HIV-specific services also differed for those with and without IDD.

Discussion: A similar prevalence of HIV among adults with and without IDD accentuates a need for strategies for individuals with IDD to be included in HIV prevention efforts. High prevalence of chronic physical and mental health comorbidity and health service use among the HIV-infected group with IDD highlight a need for comprehensive and coordinated treatment plans to optimize outcomes for this complex patient group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • Health Services*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult