Mental health concerns of HIV-infected gay and bisexual men seeking mental health services: An observational study

Michael B. Berg, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Steven A. Safren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Addressing mental health concerns of HIV-positive individuals is an important component of providing quality HIV care. Mental health intake information from patients with HIV can be an important source of data to complement existing research on HIV and mental health because the intake information contains concerns that are both from the perspective of the patients and are significant enough to bring them into treatment. The current study describes the mental health intake information of HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) at an urban community health clinic over a 1-year period. This information included presenting problems, current symptoms from a symptom checklist, ratings of impairments in functioning, and client histories (e.g., substance abuse, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, previous treatment). It also included clinicians' Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) diagnoses of the participants, and recommended treatments. Depression was the most prevalent presenting problem (58.1% of clients), followed by anxiety (38.2%). Consistently, depression (96.3%) and low energy (78.2%) were the most frequently endorsed symptoms on a symptom checklist, followed by anxiety (69.2%). HIV-specific problems also played a large role both directly, as a presenting problem, and indirectly as they related to such concerns as relationship issues. Axis I diagnoses included adjustment disorders (50.0%), major depressive disorder (21.4%), and dysthymia (a less severe but more chronic depression) (8.9%). This review highlights the mental health issues that HIV-positive MSM feel are significant enough to require treatment. Because mental health is a key component of overall quality of life, HIV providers who work with MSM can use these data to increase awareness of the types of mental concerns that are most distressing to this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-643
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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