Signs of depression among Russians with HIV and alcoholism may be associated with delayed antiretroviral therapy, according to study data published in AIDS and Behavior.
Researchers from Boston University’s School of Medicine and College of Arts and Sciences included 133 Russian participants from the HERMITAGE study. They were evaluated for signs of depression at 6 months and 1 year.
Investigators found a correlation between cognitive depressive symptoms and the decision to begin ART. Participants who had heavy drinking habits and used injection drugs were more likely to delay ART. The researchers concluded that depressive symptoms were more indicative of participants’ depression and less associated with HIV symptoms.
“Depressive symptoms have been shown to influence progression of HIV and have been associated with poor virologic response to treatment and increased immunologic failure. Timely ART initiation has been associated with multiple positive health effects, such as lower mortality, increased immune functioning and lower rates of HIV transmission,” study researcher Tracie Goodness, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Boston University, said in a press release.