Suicidal Ideation is Associated with Limited Engagement in HIV Care

AIDS Behav. 2017 Jun;21(6):1699-1708. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1469-8.


PHQ-9 data from persons living with HIV (PLWH, n = 4099) being screened for depression in three clinics in the southeastern USA were used to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation (SI). SI was reported by 352 (8.6 %); associated with <3 years since HIV diagnosis (1.69; 95 %CI 1.35, 2.13), and HIV RNA >50 copies/ml (1.70, 95 %CI 1.35, 2.14). Data from PLWH enrolled in a depression treatment study were used to determine the association between moderate-to-high risk SI (severity) and SI frequency reported on PHQ-9 screening. Over forty percent of persons reporting that SI occurred on "more than half the days" (by the PHQ-9) were assessed as having a moderate-to-high risk for suicide completion during the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. SI, including moderate-to-high risk SI, remains a significant comorbid problem for PLWH who are not fully stabilized in care (as indicated by detectable HIV RNA or HIV diagnosis for less than 3 years).

Keywords: Depression; HIV; Linkage to care; PHQ-9; Retention in care; Suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology