Association between depression and HIV treatment outcomes in a US military population with HIV infection

Brandon Carney, Colton Daniels, Xiaohe Xu, Thankam Sunil, Anuradha Ganesan, Jason M. Blaylock, Karl C. Kronmann, Christina Schofield, Tahaniyat Lalani, Brian Agan, Jason F. Okulicz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Depression is common among HIV-infected individuals and may contribute to suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and subsequent inability to attain viral load (VL) suppression. We evaluated associations between depression, self-reported adherence, and longitudinal HIV treatment outcomes in US Military HIV Natural History Study (NHS) participants with and without depression. Methods: Male NHS participants with available ICD-9 data for mental health diagnoses, Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) measures, and self-reported adherence (SRA) were included. ART use was defined as ART initiation between 2006 and 2010, with follow-up through 2015. SRA was defined as taking 95% of ART doses and continuous ART was defined as longitudinal ART use with gaps < 30 days. Continuous VL suppression was defined as maintaining VLs < 200 c/mL on ART. To analyse the association between depression and HIV treatment outcomes, latent class analysis was used to create classes of depression trajectories: low depression (LD), recent onset depression (ROD) and high Depression (HD). Results: Participants had a mean age of 32 (± 8.3) years at HIV diagnosis, and similar proportions were Caucasian (44.3%) or African American (40.8%). Overall, older participants at HIV diagnosis had greater odds of having 95% self-reported adherence (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.12), and African Americans had lower odds (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.22–0.76) compared to Caucasians (OR 1.49, 95% CI 0.52–4.28). However, there was no difference in SRA by depression trajectory. Participants with HD had an increased odds of taking ART continuously (OR 1.75, 95% CI 0.99–3.09), and those with ROD had significantly higher odds of virologic failure (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.38–0.91). Conclusions: Although there was no observed association between depression and SRA, participants with ROD had lower odds of attaining the HIV treatment goal of VL suppression. Continued efforts to identify and aggressively manage mental health disorders is important to success along the HIV care continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalAIDS Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adherence
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Depression
  • HIV
  • Viral load suppression


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