Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remains a serious immunological disease with new infections in the U.S. disproportionately reported in minority populations. For many years, the District of Columbia (DC) has reported the highest HIV infection rate in the nation. Drug abuse and addiction is also prevalent in DC and has traditionally been linked to HIV/AIDS because of the likelihood for opportunistic infections. Despite this data, the relationship between HIV status, drugs of abuse, and the incidence of neurological disorders are scarcely reported for minority populations.
Method: We carried out a retrospective study on the prevalence of substance abuse in HIV and their association with neuropsychiatric comorbidities in an African American subpopulation in Washington DC.
Findings: Our data suggests an 86 percent prevalence of drug use in the HIV patients with neuropsychiatric comorbidities, with cocaine use being significantly higher in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD), whereas PCP use was associated with patients with schizophrenia. The mean CD4 count was elevated in patients with neuropsychiatric disease, and specifically in MDD patients. CD8 counts were elevated as expected for HIV status but were not influenced by disease diagnosis. A majority (2/3) of patients were on HAART therapy, however the records did not account for adherence.
Conclusion: These data suggest that neuropsychiatric comorbidities are independent of HIV disease progression but are correlated with certain illicit drugs of abuse.
Keywords: African American; Bipolar disorder; Drugs of abuse; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); Major depressive disorder; Schizophrenia; Urban populations.