Objective: To identify the level of depressive symptoms among patients with HIV infection and to examine the reported patterns of depressive symptoms not confounded by the physical manifestations of HIV-infection.
Method: A total of 191 patients with HIV infection (75 males (39%) and 116 females (61%), mean age 40.48 ± 10 years), from three HIV clinics were administered the Beck Depression Inventory – II as well as a demographic questionnaire as part of a larger study.
Results: Moderate to severe depressive symptoms were reported by 17.3% of the HIV-infected patients with females reporting significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than males. A principal components analysis identified three clusters of depressive symptoms: cognitive-affective, negative cognitions and somatic symptoms. The HIV-infected patients were found to display mainly cognitiveaffective symptoms of depression.
Conclusion: HIV-infected patients, especially female patients, may be at an increased risk of experiencing high levels of depressive symptoms. It is recommended that HIV-infected patients be routinely screened for depression, particularly cognitive-affective symptoms of depression.