Depression update and a question about VA
Mar 2, 2014
Hi Dr. Holodniy,
I wanted to update you on my brother's depression. I posted back in December about how my brother should either switch meds (Atripla) or add psych meds because of onset depression. He took your advice to switch meds....and is now doing wonderfully - no more depression symptoms :) Since I last posted, here are his labs: cd4: 502, vl: 8,455 - then switched to Stribild. 1/13/14 CD4: 551, vl: undetectable; 2/10/14 CD4: 606, vl: undetectable. So glad he switched! Also, my brother took up running every week day and I think that has really helped - he just seems more lively. Do you think his labs are improving quickly?
Oh, and I also wanted to ask about depression among veterans living with HIV. On the VA website, there's an article/manual entitled "Depression and HIV" and in one part of the manual, it states that 49% of veterans living with HIV suffer from depression. Is this right? That seems like a very high number!
Response from Dr. Holodniy
Fabulous response to the treatment change, and thanks for the follow-up. There is a general trend that Veterans are more likely to have depression than the general public, regardless of HIV status. Although the lifetime prevalence of depression among Veterans is about 20-40%, the figure you cite is from 2007 and based on outpatient encounter code documentation of those Veterans in care at the VA. That means depression could have been a diagnosis at some point in their care, and not necessarily reflect ongoing, chronic depression.
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