Depressive symptoms decline among persons on HIV protease inhibitors

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2000 Apr 1;23(4):295-301. doi: 10.1097/00126334-200004010-00003.


Objective: To ascertain whether initiation of protease inhibitors was associated with a change in depressive symptoms among persons infected with HIV.

Methods: Study subjects included men and women who were enrolled in the HIV/AIDS Drug Treatment Program and who had completed an annual participant survey before and after initiating triple combination therapy with a protease inhibitor. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). Statistical analyses to determine the change in CES-D total and subscale scores before and after protease inhibitor use were conducted using parametric and multivariate methods.

Results: Our analysis was restricted to 453 participants. Of these 234 (52%) were depressed at baseline (CES-D score > or = 16). Compared with nondepressed participants, depressed participants were slightly younger (p = .048), less likely to be employed (p < .001) and more likely to have an annual income less than $10,000 per annum (p < .001). After adjusting for CD4 count, employment status, income, age, and CES-D total or subscale score at baseline, we found a significant improvement in total scale score (p = .001) and depressive mood (p = .002), positive affects (p = .005), and somatic symptoms (p = .011) subscale scores at follow-up. There was no significant change in the interpersonal relations score over the study period.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that in addition to conferring impressive clinical benefits, protease inhibitor use is associated with a significant improvement in HIV-positive individuals' mental health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depression* / etiology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Indinavir / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Saquinavir / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Indinavir
  • Saquinavir