Comorbid depression and apathy in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in the era of chronic HIV infection

Handb Clin Neurol. 2019;165:71-82. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-64012-3.00006-X.


This chapter provides an overview of the current research on the question of depression and apathy in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in the era of chronic HIV infection. After presenting the epidemiology of each condition showing that depression and apathy are the two most frequent psychiatric comorbidities of HAND, we review the current research, particularly in relation to the milder forms of HAND that characterize treated HIV cohorts. Doing so, we include findings on depression and apathy in non-HIV aging population and the risk of dementia, findings that are relevant to the aging HIV cohorts carrying a high burden of psychiatric comorbidities. We then present a review of the research pertaining to the differentiation between depression and apathy. A section is dedicated to the question of suicidality in chronic HIV infection, which is underappreciated. An overview of the pharmacologic and psychosocial interventions relevant to depression and apathy in HIV cohorts treated with antiretroviral treatment is provided. The chapter concludes with future directions for the research on apathy and depression with emphasis on the question of aging and the need for longitudinal studies.

Keywords: Antidepressant; Antiretroviral treatment; Apathy; Depression; HIV infection; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; Major depressive disorder; Psychosocial interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apathy* / physiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / drug therapy
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / psychology


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents