Study: Postpartum Depression Risk Not Increased in HIV Patients


CHARLESTON, S.C. — HIV-infected women were at no greater risk for postpartum depression than were their HIV-negative counterparts in a recent study, Nyota A. Peace, M.D., reported at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The retrospective case-control study included 26 HIV-infected pregnant women. There were also 52 uninfected controls who were divided into two groups—those with a high-risk pregnancy and those with a low-risk pregnancy.

The case patients and controls were matched for age, race, and study period, and did not differ in regard to education levels, substance abuse, and history of depression, according to Dr. Peace of New Jersey Medical School, Newark.

High-risk control patients had the highest mean depression scores (8 out of a possible 30 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale), but the scores did not differ significantly between these patients, the HIV patients (mean score of 5), or the low-risk control women (mean score of 5).

Compared with the women with low depression scores (under 11), those with high depression scores (greater than 11) did not differ in regard to the presence of typical risk factors for postpartum depression, such as young age, pregnancy-induced anxiety, life stressors, and lack of social support.

Although a high prevalence of depression in the HIV-positive population has been reported, data on the association between HIV and postpartum depression are limited.

The findings suggest that high-risk conditions other than HIV infection are linked with higher depression scores, and that factors typically associated with higher risk for postpartum depression are no more prevalent in patients with high depression scores than in those with low depression scores, Dr. Peace said at the meeting.

Next Article: