Original Research

Assessing HIV transmission knowledge in psychiatric patients in Johannesburg, South Africa

Hangwani J. Matodzi, Karishma Lowton, Prinesh Miseer
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2040 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2040 | © 2023 Hangwani J. Matodzi, Karishma Lowton, Prinesh Miseer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 January 2023 | Published: 30 June 2023

About the author(s)

Hangwani J. Matodzi, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Karishma Lowton, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Prinesh Miseer, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The bidirectional relationship between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and psychiatric illnesses is well documented. Misinformation about HIV transmission and prevention is associated with high rates of HIV-related risky behaviours, and therefore, HIV infection risk.

Aim: To assess basic HIV transmission knowledge in psychiatric patients.

Setting: Outpatient psychiatric clinic at Tara Psychiatric Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Methods: A cross-sectional, quantitative study was conducted employing a self-administered HIV knowledge questionnaire, the 18- item HIV knowledge questionnaire (HIV-KQ18). Consent, demographic, and clinical profile information were obtained from participants meeting the selection criteria.

Results: This study indicated a mean knowledge score of 12.6 (69.7%) out of 18, and therefore good knowledge. The highest HIV-KQ18 mean scores were found in patients with personality disorders (78.9%), anxiety disorders (75.6%) and bipolar and related disorders (71.1%). Participants with schizophrenia, depressive disorders and substance use disorders had scores ranging between 66.1% and 69.4%. Statistically significant differences in knowledge were evident based on age, marital status, level of education and employment status. Interestingly, participants who used substances had higher average basic HIV transmission knowledge scores compared to those who did not use substances.

Conclusion: Good overall HIV transmission knowledge was found in this population, albeit lower than in the general population. Statistically, correlates were found between psychiatric diagnosis, substance use, age, marital status, level of education, and employment status and basic level of HIV knowledge.

Contribution: HIV knowledge remains lower in psychiatric patients than in the general population, with correlates between demographic and clinical factors, calling for psychoeducation efforts to take all these into consideration.


Keywords

HIV knowledge; KQ-18; psychiatric patients; South Africa; HIV transmission; HIV prevention; mental illness.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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