A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiology of depression in people living with HIV in east Africa


BACKGROUND: Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder among people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and is associated with poor quality of life, additional comorbidities, disability, unemployment, poorer therapeutic outcomes and risky behaviors. The present systematic review and meta-analysis aims to systematically summarize empirical evidence and to formulate recommendations for future research. METHODS: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, and relevant literature for possible studies to include. A qualitative and quantitative analysis was undertaken for this systematic review. Subgroup and sensitivity analysis were performed. Cochran’s Q- and the I(2) test were used to assess heterogeneity. The presence of publication bias was evaluated by using Egger’s test and visual inspection of the symmetry in funnel plots. RESULTS: Of 283 titles initially identified, 81 abstracts were eligible for review. Of these, 46 articles qualified for full text review and 19 were retained. In our meta-analysis the pooled prevalence of depression in PLWHIV was 38% (95% CI 29.30-47.54). The pooled prevalence estimates of depression was 49.79% in Ethiopia and 30.88% in Uganda. In addition, the prevalence of depression was 12.40% and 46% as measured by diagnostic and screening instrument respectively. Our qualitative synthesis showed that factors such as having opportunistic infection, perceived stigma, negative life event, WHO clinical staging of disease, hospitalization in the past one month, stressful life events, food insecurity, self-efficacy, missed frequency of clinic visit, frequency of follow-up, older age, low income, urban residence and being government employee were strongly and significantly associated with depression in PLWHIV in east Africa. CONCLUSION: The pooled prevalence estimates of prevalence of depression in PLWHIV was 38%. The prevalence estimates of depression in PLWHIV in Ethiopia was significantly higher than Uganda. In addition the prevalence of depression was significantly higher in studies conducted by screening than diagnostic instrument. Routine screening and integrated management of depression into the existing HIV care services is warranted. Validation and use of standard instrument to assess depression in PLWHIV is needed. Moreover, longitudinal and community based studies focusing on incidence and determinates of depression in PLWHIV are recommended


Ayano G, Solomon M, Abraha M




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Determinants of Health
    • Food security
    • Income
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Mental Health
    • Depression


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