A Closer Look at Depression and Its Relationship to HIV Antiretroviral Adherence

Published in: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, v. 42, no. 3, Dec. 2011, p. 352-360

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Glenn Wagner, Kathy Goggin, Robert H. Remien, Marc I. Rosen, Jane Simoni, David R. Bangsberg, Honghu H. Liu

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BACKGROUND: Depression consistently predicts nonadherence to human immunodeficiency virus antiretroviral therapy, but which aspects of depression are most influential are unknown. Such knowledge could inform assessments of adherence readiness and the type of depression treatment to utilize. PURPOSE: We examined how depression severity, symptom type, and change over time relate to adherence. METHODS: Microelectronic adherence and self-reported depression data from 1,374 participants across merged studies were examined with cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Depression variables included a continuous measure, categorical measure of severity, cognitive and vegetative subscales, and individual symptoms. RESULTS: At baseline, mean adherence was 69%, and 25% had mild/moderate and 18% had severe depression. In cross-sectional multivariate analyses, continuous depression, cognitive depressive symptoms, and severe depression were associated with lower adherence. In longitudinal analysis, reductions in both continuous and categorical depression predicted increased adherence. CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between global continuous depression and nonadherence was statistically significant, but relatively weak compared to that of cognitive depressive symptoms and severe depression, which appear to pose strong challenges to adherence and call for the need for early detection and treatment of depression.

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