Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals frequently suffer from anxiety and depression. Depression has been associated with rapid decline in CD4 counts and worsened treatment outcomes in HIV-infected patients. Yoga has been used to reduce psychopathology and improve immunity.
Aim: To study the effect of 1-month integrated yoga (IY) intervention on anxiety, depression, and CD4 counts in patients suffering from HIV-1 infection.
Methods: Forty four HIV-1 infected individuals from two HIV rehabilitation centers of Manipur State of India were randomized into two groups: Yoga (n = 22; 12 males) and control (n = 22; 14 males). Yoga group received IY intervention, which included physical postures (asanas), breathing practices (pranayama), relaxation techniques, and meditation. IY sessions were given 60 min/day, 6 days a week for 1 month. Control group followed daily routine during this period. All patients were on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and dosages were kept stable during the study. There was no significant difference in age, gender, education, CD4 counts, and ART status between the two groups. Hospital anxiety and depression scale was used to assess anxiety and depression, CD4 counts were measured by flow cytometry before and after intervention. Analysis of variance - repeated measures was applied to analyze the data using SPSS version 10.
Results: Within group comparison showed a significant reduction in depression scores (F [1, 21] =4.19, P < 0.05) and non-significant reduction in anxiety scores along with non significant increment in CD4 counts in the yoga group. In the control group, there was a non-significant increase in anxiety and depression scores and reduction in CD4 counts. Between-group comparison revealed a significant reduction in depression scores (F [1, 21] =5.64, P < 0.05) and significant increase in CD4 counts (F [1, 21] =5.35, P < 0.05) in the yoga group as compared to the control.
Conclusion: One month practice of IY may reduce depression and improve immunity in HIV-1 infected adults.
Keywords: Anxiety; CD4 count; depression; human immunodeficiency virus; yoga.