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.