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20.06.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 8/2017

AIDS and Behavior 8/2017

Depression and ART Initiation Among HIV Serodiscordant Couples in Kenya and Uganda

AIDS and Behavior > Ausgabe 8/2017
Jennifer Velloza, Connie Celum, Jessica E. Haberer, Kenneth Ngure, Elizabeth Irungu, Nelly Mugo, Jared M. Baeten, Renee Heffron, Partners Demonstration Project Team


Depression is a known barrier for antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, but less is understood about its effects on ART initiation. We followed 1013 HIV-infected individuals participating in the Partners Demonstration Project, an open-label study of integrated pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and ART delivery for HIV serodiscordant couples in Kenya and Uganda. Associations between depression, measured annually with the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-Depression (HSCL-D), and ART initiation were assessed with Cox proportional hazards regression. At enrollment, 162 participants (16.0%) reported symptoms consistent with probable depression, defined by a HSCL-D mean score >1.75, and this proportion decreased during study follow-up (6.7 and 3.6% at 12- and 24-months, respectively; p value < 0.001). Greater depressive symptom severity was associated with a greater likelihood of ART initiation overall (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.32, 95% CI 1.01–1.73) and among participants with CD4 count ≤ 350 cells/µl (aHR 1.30, 95% CI 1.01–1.67). Depression decreased 6 months after ART initiation (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.34, 95% CI 0.23–0.51). Among East African HIV-infected persons in HIV serodiscordant couples, depression was not a barrier to ART initiation. ART initiation was associated with improved depressive symptoms in this setting.

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