, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 35-47

HIV and serious mental illness: Reducing the risk

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Persons with SMI residing in community mental health center group homes received an educational intervention program on HIV/AIDS. As with virtually all such approaches provided for this population, the intervention was generalized from programs used with other populations, for example, users of intravenous drugs, gay men, and adolescents. Assessment of pre- and postintervention knowledge indicated no increase in accurate information. Further, consumers were initially uncertain regarding their risk for HIV infection; this attitude, too, remained unchanged. The research design employed did not compare persons with SMI with a normative sample receiving the same information, and assessed with the same instruments, limiting hypotheses about the generalizability of existing interventions. However, the data seems to suggest its potential inefficacy. Several findings are germane to effective educational intervention techniques.

This research was supported by a Biomedical Research Support Grant, AIDS Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.