Postpartum depression and HIV infection among women in Malawi

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 Mar 1;65(3):359-65. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000050.


Background: HIV-infected women face several risk factors related to postpartum depression (PPD). We aimed to describe the prevalence and cumulative incidence of PPD in the low-income setting of Malawi and to determine the association between maternal and infant HIV and PPD.

Methods: This longitudinal cohort study included 156 HIV-uninfected and 373 HIV-infected Malawian women enrolled 10-14 weeks after delivery who returned at 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months for follow-up visits. PPD was assessed at all visits. The prevalence of PPD at all visits was estimated using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Association between PPD at 10-14 weeks and maternal and infant HIV status was assessed using log binomial regression. Cumulative incidence of PPD was assessed using Kaplan-Meier curves.

Results: Prevalence of PPD was highest (11%) at 10-14 weeks postpartum and decreased to 2.9% at 18 months. There was no association between maternal HIV status and PPD (prevalence ratio, 1.18; 95% confidence interval: 0.68 to 2.08). Among HIV-infected women, prevalence of PPD was higher among women whose infants had acquired HIV (prevalence ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 3.6). The cumulative probability of experiencing PPD over the first 12 months postpartum was estimated to be 33.5% for HIV-infected mothers with HIV-infected infants vs. 22.5% for HIV-infected mothers with uninfected infants and 23.2% for HIV-uninfected mothers.

Conclusions: PPD prevalence did not differ between HIV-infected and -uninfected mothers but increased among women with an HIV-infected infant. Our findings suggest that it may be important to monitor PPD among women with HIV-infected infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Malawi / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult