Relationship between HIV / AIDS and depressive symptomatology: analysis of individual, health and social predictors

  • M. Gonçalves
  • H. Gomes
  • Â. Maia


Background: Depression is the most prevalent mental disorder among people infected with HIV/Aids. However, the source of infection has not been explored as an explanatory variable for the mental health conditions of people living with HIV/AIDS. Method: This study involved 371 participants in outpatient treatment for HIV/AIDS in hospitals in the North of Portugal. Participants were referred to this study by the attending physician/nurse, and data were collected through an interview, at a single evaluation moment. Participants were mostly males (70%), with an average age of 46.63 (SD = 11.77), and a known diagnostic of HIV/AIDS for 10.13 years (SD = 6.42). Findings: Severe depressive symptomatology was identified in 18% of the participants. We identified several significant predictors of depressive symptoms: being a female, being in a situation of social exclusion, having adverse experiences throughout life, infection by sexual contact in a context of the marital relationship, daily concerns regarding health, having negative family relationships, and dissatisfaction with social support. Discussion: These findings suggest the need to include regular mental health assessments and referral for specialized psychological support services in the health services, since the moment of HIV/Aids diagnosis.
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