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Human immunodeficiency virus and depression in primary care: a clinical review.

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  • 1New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University, New York, USA. tc2237@columbia.edu


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals are at increased risk of developing depression. Depressive syndromes in these patients pose a challenge both diagnostically and therapeutically. These syndromes reflect both the presence of preexisting mood disorders and the development of depressive syndromes subsequent to HIV infection. Data Sources: A search of the literature to 2005 was performed using the PubMed and Ovid search engines. English- and Portuguese-language articles were identified using the following keywords: HIV or AIDS and depression, mental illness, suicide, fatigue, psychiatry, and drug interactions. Additional references were identified through bibliography reviews of relevant articles. Data Synthesis: The clinical presentation and differential diagnosis of depressive symptoms in HIV illness and the role of HIV in the development of these conditions are reviewed. Management issues including suicide assessment and treatment options are then discussed, and potentially important pharmacokinetic interactions are reviewed. Conclusions: Individuals with HIV show higher rates of depression. This phenomenon may be due to a preexisting psychiatric disorder or to the HIV infection. Untreated depression symptoms may lead to non-compliance with drug regimens or increased high-risk behaviors. Given the adverse sequelae of untreated depressions in HIV illness, identification and management of depression are integral components of comprehensive HIV care.

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