Knowledge about HIV in People with Schizophrenia: A General Population ComparisonAuthor(s): Marc De Hert , Leen Trappeniers , Martien Wampers , Pierre Van Damme , Guido Van Hal , Joseph Peuskens
Background: Patients with schizophrenia are at higher risk for human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) positivity compared to the general population. Only a limited number of studies have evaluated the knowledge about HIV in people with schizophrenia. Objectives: To compare the knowledge about HIV between people with schizophrenia and the general population. Methods: The knowledge about HIV was assessed with a questionnaire used in the general health survey of the Belgian population in 2004. Results: Patients with schizophrenia had a significantly better knowledge about nontransmissible contacts compared to the general population (43.2% vs. 32.6%, df=1, chi-square=11.0; p=0.0009). There was no difference regarding the knowledge about protective methods (50.7% vs. 55.9%, df=1, chisquare=2.45; p=0.12). Patients had a better appreciation about the severity and treatment options for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (54.6% vs. 37.9%, df=1, chi-square=25.91; p<0.0001). Conclusions: Although the overall knowledge about HIV in patients with schizophrenia is better than that of the general population, it is far from optimal. There is a need for systematic educational programs to improve knowledge.