In individuals with HIV, depressive symptoms after antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation increased the risk of having a detectable viral load over time, a recent study found. Participants had at least 1 viral load and HIV appointment after ART initiation and had a depressive symptom measure within 6 months of ART initiation. Researchers followed participants from ART initiation through the first of the following events: loss to follow-up (>12 months with no HIV appointment), death, administrative censoring, or 5 years of follow-up. They estimated associations between recent depressive symptoms and having a detectable viral load or missing an HIV visit over time. Among the findings:
- The study population included 1,057 adults with HIV, who contributed 2,424 person-years.
- 30% of participants reported depressive symptoms at ART initiation.
- Recent depressive symptoms increased the risk of having a detectable viral load (RR, 1.28) over time.
- The association between depressive symptoms and missing an HIV visit (RR, 1.20) moved to the null after adjustment for pre-existing mental health conditions (RR, 1.00).
Bengtson AM, Pence BW, Mimiaga MJ, et al. Depressive symptoms and engagement in HIV care following ART initiation. [Published online ahead of print June 12, 2018]. Clin Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/cid/ciy496.
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