Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 672–678

Using Psychiatric Symptomatology to Assess Risk for HIV Infection in Individuals with Severe Mental Illness

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10597-011-9402-0

Cite this article as:
Wu, E.S., Rothbard, A. & Blank, M.B. Community Ment Health J (2011) 47: 672. doi:10.1007/s10597-011-9402-0


In this study, we use the Colorado Symptom Index, a measure of psychiatric symptomatology, to identify vulnerable subgroups within the severely mentally ill population at elevated risk for HIV infection. Baseline data on 228 HIV positive and 281 HIV negative participants from two clinical trials were used. With years to HIV diagnosis as our primary endpoint, Kaplan–Meier estimates were calculated to find a CSI cut-off score, and a Cox proportional hazards model was used to obtain relative risks of infection for the two CSI categories created by the cut point. We found that a CSI score ≥ 30 was associated with a 47% increased risk for HIV infection (P < 0.01). While this study establishes the foundation for using CSI scores to identify a vulnerable subgroup within the SMI community, further studies should develop effective approaches to mitigate psychiatric symptomatology in order to examine the impact on HIV transmission risky behaviors.


Colorado symptom index (CSI) HIV risk factors Severe mental illness Psychiatric symptomatology 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evan S. Wu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Aileen Rothbard
    • 1
  • Michael B. Blank
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services ResearchUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Biostatistics, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.PhiladelphiaUSA

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