ASM Microbe

ASM Microbe

September 12, 2012
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Psychiatric disorders common among HIV patients

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SAN FRANCISCO — Depression, suicide attempts, anxiety and sleep disturbances were common among HIV patients, according to findings presented here.

Lisa Saidel-Odes, MD, of Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) in Israel, and colleagues from Ben-Gurion University studied the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms in 156 HIV-infected patients, comparing the mental health characteristics of African-origin and Caucasian populations.

Patients who were admitted to the SUMC’s HIV clinic were assessed for depression, history of suicide attempts, anxiety, confusion and sleep disturbances. The researchers also measured patients’ CD4 and viral load levels.

Results showed that most patients (92.9%) experienced at least one type of psychiatric symptom; 60.7% of patients of African origin vs. 39.3% of Caucasians (P=.053). There was no significant difference in socioeconomic status, gender, years since diagnosis, years treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy, and CD4 and viral load levels between patients with and without psychiatric symptoms. Saidel-Odes and colleagues found depression in 36.1%, anxiety in 32.2% and sleep disturbances in 27.7% of patients.

Suicide attempts, reported by 11.6% of patients, were more common in Caucasians (P=.024) and recent immigrants (P=.003). More patients of African origin reported confusion (92.3% vs. 70.3% of Caucasians; P<.001). More Caucasians completed a psychiatric or psychological intervention compared with patients of African origin (18.5% vs. 6.6%; P=.039). Results also showed that being divorced (P=.044) and low socioeconomic status (P=.01) were risk factors for depression (P<.001). Patients who were happier and less nervous reported being in better health (P<.001).

“[Psychiatric manifestations] are very common in HIV patients, with high prevalence of depression, suicidal attempts, anxiety and sleep disturbances,” the researchers wrote. “Ethnicity and socioeconomic status play an important role in the presentation of these symptoms. Clinicians should take these factors into consideration in the management of [psychiatric manifestations] in HIV patients.”

For more information:

Dotan I. #019. Presented at: 52nd ICAAC; Sept. 9-12, 2012; San Francisco.