The effects of antidepressant medications on antiretroviral treatment adherence in HIV-positive individuals with depression


Background Extant literature has identified Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as a comorbid disorder in individuals with seropositive human immunodeficiency disorder (HIV), and this may affect HIV-treatment efficacy. However, there is a paucity of literature evaluating the effects of antidepressant use on antiretroviral therapies (ART) in HIV-positive individuals. Herein, the following review assesses the effects of antidepressant medications on ART adherence in HIV-positive individuals with diagnosed MDD. Methods A systematic search on PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar search engines were conducted between database inception to June 12th, 2020 using the search and MeSH terms: (HIV) AND (antiretroviral or treatment) AND (depress*) AND (antidepressants) AND (adherence). Results We identified nine articles that evaluated ART adherence in HIV-positive individuals using antidepressants. Of the nine included articles, eight articles evaluated participants undergoing ART, and one article evaluated participants undergoing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Our primary findings suggest that patients who took antidepressant treatment for depression demonstrated greater adherence to HIV treatments and a reduction in missed HIV medication dosage. Limitations The heterogeneity of study design between the included studies was high. Conclusion The current review suggests that response to antidepressant medication may improve adherence to HIV treatments in HIV-positive individuals with comorbid depression. Further studies should expand the findings to explore the effects of disparate psychotropic agents on adherence behaviors among patients with HIV to identify the benefits of these agents on long-term health outcomes in this vulnerable clinical population.


El-Halabi S, Cooper DH, Cha DS, Rosenblat JD, Gill B, Rodrigues NB, Lipsitz O, McIntyre RS, Gill H




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Mental Health
    • Depression


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