Background: Intravenous (IV) drug use and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are closely related and are both among the major public health dilemmas worldwide. A considerable number of IV drug users are infected with HIV; this further adds to the risk of the occurrence of psychological disorders in them. This study aimed to assess the mental health status of IV drug users with and without HIV infection.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on 270 IV drug users in Hamadan, including 90 HIV-positive and 180 HIV-negative subjects. The data were collected using general health questionnaire-28 items (GHQ-28) and then analyzed by SPSS, version 19.
Results: Based on the results, HIV-negative IV drug users had a better mental health status than HIV-positive IV drug users, but this difference was not statistically significant (P=0.072). The assessment of GHQ-28 subscales revealed that the score of the social dysfunction subscale was significantly higher in HIV-positive compared to HIV-negative subjects (P=0.004).
Conclusion: It appears that the mental health status of IV drug users is suboptimal, and HIV infection can compromise the quality of life of addicts, particularly in terms of social function. Thus, designing strategies to improve the mental health status of IV drug users and their compliance with hygienic measures can promote public health.