The impact of alcohol use on depressive symptoms in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients

Addiction. 2008 Sep;103(9):1461-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02245.x. Epub 2008 Jul 10.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales