HIV-Positive People With Depression More Likely To Follow Treatment Regimens

Armen Hareyan's picture

HIV-positive people with clinical depression who take the commonantidepressants selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are morelikely to follow their treatment regimens, according to a studypublished in a recent online edition of the Journal of AcquiredImmune Deficiency Syndromes, HealthDayNews/Washington Post reports.


For the study,Michael Horberg -- director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente inOakland, Calif. -- and colleagues analyzed the mental health, diseaseprogression and treatment data for nearly 3,400 HIV-positive peoplenationwide between 2000 and 2003. All of the participants recentlyhad started highly active antiretroviral therapy, according to thestudy.

The researchers found that 42% of the participants haddepression during the 12-month study period. Participants who haddepression were less likely to follow their treatment regimens andhad worse viral responses than participants who were not depressed,according to the study. The study found that when the participantswith depression took SSRIs -- such as Celexa, Paxil, Prozac andZoloft -- they had the same health outcomes as those who were notdepressed.

"The take-home point of this study is thatdepression carries a worse prognosis for HAART" in HIV-positivepeople, Horberg said, adding that "SSRIs can reverse" theprognosis and "improve outcomes" for HIV-positive peoplewith the condition. "HIV and depression often go hand in hand,"Horberg added, noting that HIV-positive people should be screened fordepression regularly and that depression should be treated inHIV-positive people on HAART (HealthDay News/Washington Post,1/4).

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