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The prevalence of human immundeficiency seroposivity in patients presenting with first episode psychosis.

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Background Patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agent of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), have high rates of psychiatric morbidity. The effects of HIV on the Central Nervous System may lead to psychiatric morbidity even before the appearance of the full-blown AIDS syndrome. Sero-prevalence studies of patients with psychoses have found an estimated 5-20% to be HIV positive. However, sero-prevalence estimates vary from study to study due to the differences in sampling by geographic location, socio-economic class, race and ethnicity, and psychiatric-diagnostic composition. The Republic of South Africa has some of the highest prevalence rates in the world and research in this field is escalating rapidly. However research on HIV in patients with mental illness, particularly psychosis is very sparse. Aim of the study To determine the prevalence of HIV sero-positivity amongst patients admitted to Town Hill hospital presenting with first episode psychosis. Method All patients presenting to Town Hill hospital with first episode of psychotic symptoms were recruited to participate in the study. The treating doctor in collaboration with the multi-disciplinary team made the diagnosis of Psychosis. A total number of 63 patients participated in the study. Results. 23.8% of the patients tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus. Conclusions. The prevalence of HIV sero-positivity is high amongst patients presenting with first episode psychosis. The HIV epidemic could have an important effect on the aetiology and clinical presentation of psychosis. Recommendations State mental health authorities should pursue the promotion of voluntary HIV testing programs, in patients presenting with first episode psychosis as soon as they are capable of giving informed consent.


Thesis (M.Med.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2007.


AIDS (Disease)--Complications., AIDS (Disease)--Psychological aspects., HIV (Viruses), Mental illness., Psychoses., Theses--Psychiatry.