Mental health and substance use problems are common among patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and may impede adherence to antiretroviral regimens as well as prevent clients from obtaining needed care. Recent research suggests the need for screening and treatment for mental health and substance use problems among HIV-positive patients as a necessary component to improving adherence to antiretroviral medications. According to HRSA in its Guide to Primary Care for People with HIV/AIDS, 2004 edition, “The high rates of pre-morbid mental health problems in persons with HIV and mental health problems related to HIV disease make mental health services a key component of HIV care.” It can be assumed that substance abuse problems fall under the broader umbrella of mental health issues for HIV clients both in and out of care.
In 2007, more than $185 million was available in Texas for direct client services to persons infected with HIV through the federally funded Ryan White Program, state and direct HOPWA, and general revenue funds. Less than 2% of these funds was allocated toward mental health services, and not all of these funds were utilized by service providers. This project seeks to explore the under utilization of these funds and to assess the needs and capacities associated with mental health and substance abuse service needs of HIV infected persons in Texas.
Dr. Rountree has received funds through the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to build upon her research on this project with a focus specifically on the mental health/substance abuse needs of HIV infected persons of color.