Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Feb;167(2):143-50. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09050651. Epub 2009 Dec 15.

Suicide in HIV-infected individuals and the general population in Switzerland, 1988-2008.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Finkenhubelweg 11, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.



High rates of suicide have been described in HIV-infected patients, but it is unclear to what extent the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has affected suicide rates. The authors examined time trends and predictors of suicide in the pre-HAART (1988-1995) and HAART (1996-2008) eras in HIV-infected patients and the general population in Switzerland.


The authors analyzed data from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and the Swiss National Cohort, a longitudinal study of mortality in the Swiss general population. The authors calculated standardized mortality ratios comparing HIV-infected patients with the general population and used Poisson regression to identify risk factors for suicide.


From 1988 to 2008, 15,275 patients were followed in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study for a median duration of 4.7 years. Of these, 150 died by suicide (rate 158.4 per 100,000 person-years). In men, standardized mortality ratios declined from 13.7 (95% CI=11.0-17.0) in the pre-HAART era to 3.5 (95% CI=2.5-4.8) in the late HAART era. In women, ratios declined from 11.6 (95% CI=6.4-20.9) to 5.7 (95% CI=3.2-10.3). In both periods, suicide rates tended to be higher in older patients, in men, in injection drug users, and in patients with advanced clinical stage of HIV illness. An increase in CD4 cell counts was associated with a reduced risk of suicide.


Suicide rates decreased significantly with the introduction of HAART, but they remain above the rate observed in the general population, and risk factors for suicide remain similar. HIV-infected patients remain an important target group for suicide prevention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk