Aim: To gain an initial perspective of mental health issues facing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive population at the University Hospital Center of Tirana (UHCT) HIV/AIDS Ambulatory Clinic.
Methods: From June-August 2009, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 79 patients (93% response rate) at the UHCT HIV/AIDS Ambulatory Clinic. The interviews assessed patient-reported histories of mental health diagnoses, patients' demographics, and current emotional health status.
Results: The percentage of patients who reported a history of diagnosis of depression or anxiety was high - 62.3% and 82.3%, respectively. Factors associated with a history of depression included having been diagnosed with anxiety (P<0.001), having a higher number of barriers to care (P<0.001), having a higher number of current medical and social needs (P<0.001), or having not obtained antiretroviral therapy (ART) abroad (P=0.004). Factors associated with a history of anxiety included having been on first-line ART (P=0.008), having been diagnosed with HIV for shorter periods of time (P=0.043), having been diagnosed with depression (P<0.001), having a higher number of current medical and social needs (P=0.035), or having not obtained ART abroad (P=0.003).
Conclusions: Mental health problems are widespread among the known HIV-positive patient population in Albania. The high prevalences of anxiety and depression and of dual diagnoses of these conditions suggest the need for more mental health care for HIV-positive patients in Albania.