AIDS Treatment and Mental Health

Evidence from Uganda

Published in: Social Science and Medicine, v. 92, Sep. 2013, p. 27-34

Posted on RAND.org on July 10, 2013

by Edward N. Okeke, Glenn Wagner

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Increased access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in developing countries over the last decade is believed to have contributed to reductions in HIV transmission and improvements in life expectancy. While numerous studies document the effects of ART on physical health and functioning, comparatively less attention has been paid to the effects of ART on mental health outcomes. In this paper we study the impact of ART on depression in a cohort of patients in Uganda entering HIV care. We find that 12 months after beginning ART, the prevalence of major and minor depression in the treatment group had fallen by approximately 15 and 27 percentage points respectively relative to a comparison group of patients in HIV care but not receiving ART. We also find some evidence that ART helps to close the well-known gender gap in depression between men and women.

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