Psychological and behavioral impact among intravenous drug users of learning HIV test results

Paul P. Casadonte, Don C. Des Jarlais, Samuel R. Friedman, John P. Rotrosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1984 as part of a New York City study to examine the prevalence of HIV infection in a substance-abusing population and to test the validity of HIV screening kits, 94 patients at the New York VAMC were tested. Results were made available to 50 (35 seronegative, 15 seropositive) patients in January 1986. Psychological and behavioral impact of learning test results was assessed using standardized psychiatric rating scales A comparison group of 31 nontested subjects were also evaluated. Ratings were done preresults, approximately 1-2 weeks after results, and 8-10 weeks after informing patients of their HIV status. No major stress reactions were observed. Seropositives experienced a higher level of anxiety 1-2 weeks after learning results but anxiety generally diminished; they made significant behavior changes which were maintained. Seronegatives experienced relief and maintained IV drug risk reduction behavior. Anxiety about contracting AIDS increased in nontested subjects as the study progressed

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-426
Number of pages18
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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