Objectives: Studies have shown that depression and other mental illnesses are under-diagnosed among HIV-infected individuals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of mental health history and questionnaire-based screening instruments to identify HIV-infected individuals at risk of depression.
Methods: The Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) was used to assess the prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms among HIV-infected individuals attending two out-patient clinics in Denmark. HIV-infected individuals with a BDI-II score ≥ 20 were offered a clinical evaluation by a consultant psychiatrist. The BDI-II score was compared to the outcome of mental health history review, and to results obtained using the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) two-item depression screening tool.
Results: A total of 501 HIV-infected individuals were included in the study. Symptoms of moderate/major depression (BDI-II score ≥ 20) were observed in 111 patients (22%); 65 of these patients consulted a psychiatrist, of whom 71% were diagnosed with a co-existing disorder. The BDI-II score was compared to the outcome of a mental health history review, and to results obtained using the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) two-item depression screening tool. The two questions showed a sensitivity and specificity of 95% and 68%, respectively, for diagnosis of current depression or risk of depression. A previous psychiatric history and substance abuse were independently associated with an increased risk of depression.
Conclusions: We suggest that the mental health of HIV-infected individuals should be reviewed and a "risk-flag" three-step approach should be used (1) to screen routinely with the two verbal questions suggested by the EACS, (2) to identify whether there is a risk of depression and then screen with the BDI-II, and (3) to identify whether there is still a risk and then perform a full evaluation and obtain an accurate psychiatric diagnosis by a psychiatrist.
Keywords: HIV; depression; mental health; screening.
© 2016 British HIV Association.