Aims: To examine the impact of alcohol use on depressive symptoms in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients.
Design: Data were collected at 6-month intervals and analyzed to evaluate the association between alcohol dependence and consumption on depressive symptoms using longitudinal mixed-effects regression models controlling for specified covariates.
Measurements: The two independent variables were current alcohol dependence assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and past month consumption (heavy versus not heavy drinking) using a validated calendar-based method. The primary outcome was depressive symptoms as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).
Participants: HIV-infected adults with current or past alcohol problems.
Findings: Alcohol dependence and heavy alcohol use were significantly associated with higher CES-D scores in unadjusted models. In adjusted analyses, the association of current alcohol dependence persisted [mean difference in CES-D was 3.49 for dependence versus non-dependence; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.76-5.22]; however, the effect of heavy drinking was no longer statistically significant (mean difference in CES-D was 1.04 for heavy versus not heavy drinking; 95% CI: -0.24-2.32).
Conclusions: Alcohol use is associated with more depressive symptoms in HIV-infected patients with alcohol problems. This association remains significant after adjusting for potential confounders only when alcohol use meets the criteria for alcohol dependence.