Depression in HIV-positive patients: the reality of a Portuguese hospital

  • Paulina Freitas Escola de Ciências da Saúde Universidade do Minho
  • André Fernandes Escola de Ciências da Saúde Universidade do Minho
  • Pedro Morgado Escola de Ciências da Saúde Universidade do Minho
Keywords: depression, depressive symptoms, HIV, HIV seropositivity, CD4-positive T-lymphocytes, viral load.


Aims: Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder among people infected with HIV. This study aims to characterize the Hospital of Joaquim Urbano population of HIV-infected patients’ profile regarding depressive symptoms and whether they correlate with the analytical parameters most frequently evaluated in the context of infection by this virus – HIV viral load, CD4+ count and CD4+ percentage.

Methods: We conducted an observational descriptive and analytical study. The participants’ level of depressive symptoms was assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory. The medical and psychiatric history and the analytical values of viral load, CD4+ count and CD4+ percentage were obtained by consulting the participants’ clinical processes.

Results: A prevalence of 65.5% in HIV-infected patients’ depressive symptoms was found, with a considerable high percentage of subjects presenting with severe symptoms (32.7%). No associations between the depressive symptoms’ levels and CD4+ count, CD4+ percentage or viral load were found. However, depressive symptoms were associated with substance abuse and education level.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of depressive symptoms found in this study reinforces the importance of monitoring this type of symptoms in HIV-infected subjects. The fact that there have been no associations between depressive symptoms and the analytical parameters evaluated is in line with previous studies.


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How to Cite
Freitas, P., Fernandes, A., & Morgado, P. (2015). Depression in HIV-positive patients: the reality of a Portuguese hospital. Scientia Medica, 25(2), ID20469.
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