Depression and suicidality in HIV/AIDS in China. Academic Article uri icon


  • This pilot study examined rates of major depression and suicidality and their associations with daily functioning in HIV infected (HIV+) and uninfected (HIV-) persons in China.HIV+ participants (N=28) and demographically matched HIV- controls (N=23) completed the Chinese Composite International Diagnostic Interview to determine lifetime rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidality. Current mood and suicidal ideation were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory-I. The impact of depression and HIV infection on daily functioning was measured by an Activity of Daily Living questionnaire.Mean duration of known HIV+ status was 2 years. Almost 79% (n=22) of HIV+ but just 4% (n=1) of HIV- groups reported lifetime major depression. Of the 22 HIV+ individuals with lifetime MDD, only one had onset before learning of HIV status. The remainder developed MDD within 6 months after testing HIV positive. In those HIV+ subjects who met MDD criteria after HIV diagnosis, only two (9%) had received depression treatment, yet four (18%) had persisting active suicidal thoughts. Depression and HIV+ status independently predicted worse daily functioning.Representativeness is limited in this small sample of convenience.This preliminary study presents evidence of high rates of major depression and suicidality in HIV-infected persons in China. Despite this, few had sought mental health assistance, suggesting a need to increase awareness of psychiatric comorbidity and access to mental health services.

publication date

  • August 2006