HIV Infection Tied to Higher Risk for Depression

Family-related factors unlikely to entirely explain this risk, authors say

Sample blood collection tube with HIV test label
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THURSDAY, April 6, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- People living with HIV (PLWH) have an increased risk for depression, especially in the first two years after HIV infection, according to a study presented at the 33rd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, held from April 15 to 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Cecilie V. Vollmond, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues used a nationwide cohort of 5,946 PLWH in Denmark (1995 to 2021) and a comparison cohort of 59,460 sex- and age-matched controls and siblings of PLWH to assess the risk for depression with HIV.

The researchers observed an increased risk for depression diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR], 3.3; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.5 to 4.4), redemption of antidepressants (HR, 3.0; 95 percent CI, 2.7 to 3.4), treatment with electroconvulsive therapy (HR, 2.8; 95 percent CI, 0.9 to 8.6), and suicide (HR, 10.7; 95 percent CI, 5.2 to 22.2) among PLWH, especially in the first two years after HIV infection. There was also an increased proportion of use of psychiatric hospitals due to depression and redemption of antidepressants both prior to, and especially after, HIV infection. Siblings of PLWH had an increased risk for depression diagnosis, redemption of antidepressants, and suicide, but with lower risk than PLWH.

"Our findings clearly highlight the serious mental health implications of being given a diagnosis of HIV and the importance of clinicians looking out for symptoms of depression in this high-risk population," a coauthor said in a statement. "Caring for people with HIV, which has traditionally focused on their physical health, should place more emphasis on their mental health."


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Lori Solomon

Lori Solomon

Published on April 06, 2023

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