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HIV & depression

Jul 5, 2008

Can depression be considered a symptom of HIV? I know that medications such as Sustiva can cause depression but what about the disease itself?

Response from Dr. Horwath

The prevalence of depression is higher among people with HIV/AIDS than in the general population. There are many reasons for this. One is that depression and substance abuse often occur together, and people with substance abuse have a higher risk of HIV. We also know that depression can put people at higher risk of HIV infection (because of its effect on behavior) and is associated with a worse course of illness and higher mortality. As you mentioned, efavirenz (Sustiva) is known to cause psychiatric symptoms like depression as well.

In short, depression is associated with HIV in many ways. HIV can affect the course of depression and depression can affect the course of HIV.

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