Original Research

The clinical and demographic profile of women living with HIV admitted to the acute unit at Stikland Psychiatric Hospital

Jean-Marie le Roux, Lina Groenewald, Karis Moxley, Liezl Koen
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 22, No 1 | a1159 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v22i1.1159 | © 2021 Jean-Marie le Roux, Lina Groenewald, Karis Moxley, Liezl Koen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 August 2020 | Published: 16 March 2021

About the author(s)

Jean-Marie le Roux, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Lina Groenewald, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Karis Moxley, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Liezl Koen, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There is a paucity of research on the clinical profile of women living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (WLWH) admitted with acute mental health illness. Existing studies are small and did not look at factors that could have an impact on medication adherence. As a first step to inform service delivery for this vulnerable population, a thorough understanding of the composition and needs of these patients should be identified.

Objectives: To describe the socio-demographic and clinical profile that could have an influence on the antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence of WLWH at an inpatient psychiatric unit.

Methods: In this retrospective audit, the medical records of all WLWH (18–59 years of age), discharged from the acute unit at Stikland Psychiatric Hospital, were reviewed over a 12-month period.

Results: Of the 347 female patients discharged, 55 patients were positive for HIV (15.9%). The majority of them were unmarried (78.2%), unemployed (92.7%), had a secondary level of education (Grade 8–10) (58.2%), lived with a family member (83.6%) and had children (61.8%). The most common psychiatric diagnosis on discharge was substance use disorder with 78.2% of patients being categorised as substance users. Interpersonal violence was only reported by 5.5% of patients. Although most patients performed poorly on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and International HIV Dementia Scale (IHDS), only 12% of patients received a diagnosis of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) upon discharge. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) was initiated in 21.8% of patients. Only eight patients had a viral load of < 200 copies/mL, indicating viral suppression.

Conclusion: Our findings may inform service planning and emphasise the need for targeted intervention strategies to improve treatment outcomes in this vulnerable group.


Keywords

ART adherence; HIV; female; neurological disorders; psychiatry; South Africa

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