Depression and suicidality in HIV/AIDS in China

J Affect Disord. 2006 Aug;94(1-3):269-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2006.04.013. Epub 2006 Jun 9.


Background: This pilot study examined rates of major depression and suicidality and their associations with daily functioning in HIV infected (HIV+) and uninfected (HIV-) persons in China.

Method: HIV+ participants (N=28) and demographically matched HIV- controls (N=23) completed the Chinese Composite International Diagnostic Interview to determine lifetime rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidality. Current mood and suicidal ideation were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory-I. The impact of depression and HIV infection on daily functioning was measured by an Activity of Daily Living questionnaire.

Results: Mean duration of known HIV+ status was 2 years. Almost 79% (n=22) of HIV+ but just 4% (n=1) of HIV- groups reported lifetime major depression. Of the 22 HIV+ individuals with lifetime MDD, only one had onset before learning of HIV status. The remainder developed MDD within 6 months after testing HIV positive. In those HIV+ subjects who met MDD criteria after HIV diagnosis, only two (9%) had received depression treatment, yet four (18%) had persisting active suicidal thoughts. Depression and HIV+ status independently predicted worse daily functioning.

Limitations: Representativeness is limited in this small sample of convenience.

Conclusion: This preliminary study presents evidence of high rates of major depression and suicidality in HIV-infected persons in China. Despite this, few had sought mental health assistance, suggesting a need to increase awareness of psychiatric comorbidity and access to mental health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / ethnology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Asians / ethnology
  • Asians / psychology*
  • China
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / ethnology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Seronegativity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / psychology*