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On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


PINTO, Diana de Souza et al. Sexuality, vulnerability to HIV, and mental health: an ethnographic study of psychiatric institutions. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.9, pp.2224-2233. ISSN 1678-4464.

This paper presents data from the ethnographic based formative phase of the Interdisciplinary Project on Sexuality, Mental Health, and AIDS (PRISSMA), sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and carried out in two psychiatric institutions in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Results from ethnographic observations, focus groups, and key informant interviews with different groups of mental health care providers and day hospital and outpatient mental health clients regarding conceptions of sexuality and HIV vulnerability are described. The results suggest a diversity of notions about sexuality by both groups and point out the high HIV sexual risk in this psychiatric population. This formative phase has served as the basis for the cultural adaptation and creation of a Brazilian intervention for HIV prevention in the severely mentally ill, the feasibility of which has been successfully evaluated in the pilot phase.

Keywords : Sexuality; Health Vulnerability; HIV; Mental Health.

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