Prevalence, correlates, and self-management of HIV-related depressive symptoms

L. S. Eller, E. H. Bunch, D. J. Wantland, C. J. Portillo, N. R. Reynolds, K. M. Nokes, C. L. Coleman, J. K. Kemppainen, K. M. Kirksey, I. B. Corless, M. J. Hamilton, P. J. Dole, P. K. Nicholas, W. L. Holzemer, Y. F. Tsai

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44 Scopus citations


Depressive symptoms are highly prevalent yet undertreated in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs). As part of a larger study of symptom self-management (N=1217), this study examined the prevalence, correlates, and characteristics (intensity, distress, and impact) of depressive symptoms, and the self-care strategies used to manage those symptoms in PLHAs in five countries. The proportion of respondents from each country in the total sample reporting depressive symptoms in the past week varied and included Colombia (44%), Norway (66%), Puerto Rico (57%), Taiwan (35%), and the USA (56%). Fifty-four percent (n=655) of the total sample reported experiencing depressive symptoms in the past week, with a mean of 4.1 (SD 2.1) days of depression. Mean depression intensity 5.4 (SD 2.7), distressfulness 5.5 (SD 2.86), and impact 5.5 (SD 3.0) were rated on a 1-10 scale. The mean Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score for those reporting depressive symptoms was 27 (SD 11; range 3-58), and varied significantly by country. Respondents identified 19 self-care behaviors for depressive symptoms, which fell into six categories: complementary therapies, talking to others, distraction techniques, physical activity, medications, and denial/avoidant coping. The most frequently used strategies varied by country. In the US sample, 33% of the variance in depressive symptoms was predicted by the combination of education, HIV symptoms, psychological and social support, and perceived consequences of HIV disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1170
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • HIV disease
  • depressive symptoms
  • self-management
  • symptom management


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