Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Use Among African American Women in HIV Care

Heidi E. Hutton, Noa Cardin, Keemi Ereme, Geetanjali Chander, Xiaoqiang Xu, Mary E. McCaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


African-American (AA) women are overrepresented among women with HIV (WWH). In the United States, psychiatric disorders are prevalent among WWH and associated with adverse outcomes. However, little research has examined psychiatric disorders among AA WWH. 315 AA women who were hazardous/heavy drinkers (HD) or moderate/non-drinkers (ND) were recruited from an HIV clinic in a study on alcohol use disorders. We compared sample prevalence of Axis-1 psychiatric diagnoses using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV with those from general population AA women in the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R). While 29.9% of general population AA women had any lifetime disorder, 66.9% of HD and 62.4% of ND WWH met criteria for a lifetime Axis-1 disorder. Specifically, lifetime PTSD and lifetime MDD were over threefold higher; current PTSD and current MDD respectively were 11-fold and threefold higher. PTSD was the most frequent comorbid diagnosis. HD and ND WWH did not differ in prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses despite significantly higher rates of substance use among HD women. Diagnostic evaluation and intervention for psychiatric disorders should be a priority in HIV medical care settings to improve health outcomes. Interventions should be tailored to address the particular stressors, challenges, and resiliencies among AA WWH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3083-3092
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • African-American women
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • HIV
  • Hazardous alcohol use
  • Major depressive disorder
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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