Depression and aging with HIV: Associations with health-related quality of life and positive psychological factors

J Affect Disord. 2019 May 15;251:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.03.025. Epub 2019 Mar 6.


Background: Depression is prevalent among persons living with HIV (PLWH). This study investigated the relationships between depressive symptomatology, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and positive psychological factors in PLWH and age-matched HIV-individuals.

Methods: One hundred twenty-two PLWH and 94 HIV- individuals, recruited in three age cohorts (36-45, 46-55, 56-65 years old), completed self-report questionnaires on depressive symptoms (CES-D), HRQoL, and positive psychological factors (resilience, grit, and self-rated successful aging [SRSA]). Participants were classified based on HIV status (H+ vs H-) and elevated depressive symptoms (D+ vs D-) into four groups (H+/D+; H-/D+; H+/D-; H-/D-).

Results: Fifty-eight percent of PLWH had elevated depressive scores, compared to 33% of HIV- individuals (p < 0.001). The proportion of individuals reporting elevated depressive symptoms only differed among individuals 36-45 years old (H+: 61.5%; H-: 17.9%; p < 0.001). Individuals in the H+/D+ group reported the lowest HRQoL, resilience, grit, and SRSA across age cohorts. However, there were no differences on HRQoL or positive psychological factors between H+/D- and H-/D- groups; in fact, individuals 56-65 years in the H+/D- group endorsed aging the most successfully.

Limitations: Small sample size within the groups and the cross-sectional nature of the analysis limit the ability to address onset of depressive symptoms in relation to HRQoL or positive psychological factors.

Conclusions: Among PLWH depressive symptoms show a strong association with HRQoL and positive psychological factors compared to HIV- individuals. In the absence of elevated depressive symptoms, however, PLWH report similar HRQoL and positive psychological factors to HIV- individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Self Report
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires