The prevalence of depression among adolescent with HIV/AIDS: a systematic review and meta-analysis

AIDS Res Ther. 2021 Apr 27;18(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12981-021-00351-1.


Background: Depression is particularly common among adolescents with HIV/AIDS and has been associated with disruption of the important developmental process, subsequently leading to a wide range of negative mental, physical and psychosocial consequences, as well as poor quality of life in those population groups. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, there are no prior systematic reviews and meta-analytic studies that determined the prevalence of depression among adolescents with HIV/AIDS.

Method: We systematically searched PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science for relevant literature until May 2020. A random-effect meta-analysis was used to pool prevalence rates from individual studies. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses were performed to identify the source of heterogeneities and to compare the prevalence estimates across the groups. The Joanna Briggs Institute's quality assessment checklist was used to evaluate the quality of the included studies. Cochran's Q and the I2 tests were used to assess heterogeneity between the studies.

Results: A total of ten studies were included for the final analysis, with 2642 adolescents living with HIV/AIDS. Our final meta-analysis showed that more than a quarter of adolescents with HIV had depression [26.07% (95% CI 18.92-34.78)]. The prevalence was highest amongst female adolescents (32.15%) than males (25.07%) as well as amongst the older adolescents aged 15-19 years (37.09%) than younger adolescents aged 10-14 years (29.82%).

Conclusion: Our study shows that a significant proportion of adolescents with HIV had depression, indicating the imperativeness of intervention strategies to alleviate the suffering and possibly reduce the probable negative ramifications.

Keywords: AIDS; Adolescent; Depression; HIV; Meta-analysis; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life