Implementation of PHQ-9 depression screening for HIV-infected patients in a real-world setting

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2014 May-Jun;25(3):243-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2013.05.004. Epub 2013 Oct 5.


The prevalence of depression is 20%-30% for people living with HIV, and while it is associated with poorer adherence to antiretrovirals, it is often unrecognized by medical providers. Although it has been challenging for some health care settings to develop consistent depression screening mechanisms, it is feasible to create screening protocols using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Establishing a depression screening and response protocol is an iterative process that involves preparing staff, determining screening frequency, and developing procedures for response and appropriate medical record documentation. While there are multiple issues and potential challenges during implementation, it is possible to incorporate systematic depression screening into HIV primary care in a manner that achieves staff buy-in, minimizes patient burden, streamlines communication, and efficiently uses the resources available in the medical setting.

Keywords: HIV; PHQ-9; depression; infectious diseases; screening.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Surveys and Questionnaires