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BackgroundIndividuals with severe mental illnesses (SMI) are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV infection but are not consistently engaged in HIV-related services.ObjectiveTo understand factors influencing implementation of HIV-related services to individuals with SMI, we conducted a series of focus groups with multidisciplinary clinicians and staff serving individuals with SMI in outpatient, emergency, acute inpatient, and chronic inpatient levels of care.MethodSix focus groups with 30 participants were conducted, audiotaped, and transcribed. Our qualitative analysis drew on Grounded Theory. Using NVivo Version 9, coding was conducted by the first and senior authors; interrater reliability was verified by running Coding Comparison queries.ResultsThe providers’ narratives highlighted (1) patient-related factors, (2) stigma, and (3) administrative factors as themes particularly relevant to the delivery of HIV-related services to individuals with SMI. The reported relevance of these factors ranged across levels of care, from creating multiple barriers in the outpatient care to relatively seamless and effective delivery of full continuum of HIV-related services in the chronic inpatient environment, where adequate structural support is provided.ConclusionProviders’ narratives suggest that effective delivery of HIV-related services for individuals with SMI requires sustained structural support that is coordinated across levels of psychiatric care and tailored to individual patient’s needs. The narratives also suggest that such support is currently not available.
Journal: Psychosomatics - Volume 57, Issue 1, January–February 2016, Pages 64–70