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



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.


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-).


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.


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.


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.

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