Assessing incident depression among older people with and without HIV in U.S.

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Purpose: Despite substantially higher prevalence of depression among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), few data exist on the incidence and correlates of depression in this population. This study assessed the effect of HIV infection, age, and cohort period on the risk of developing depression by sex among older U.S. Medicare beneficiaries. Methods: We constructed a retrospective matched cohort using a 5% nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries (1996–2015). People with newly diagnosed (n = 1309) and previously diagnosed (n = 1057) HIV were individually matched with up to three beneficiaries without HIV (n = 6805). Fine-Gray models adjusted for baseline covariates were used to assess the effect of HIV status on developing depression by sex strata. Results: PLWHA, especially females, had higher risk of developing depression within five years. The relative subdistribution hazards (sHR) for depression among three HIV exposure groups differed between males and females and indicated a marginally significant interaction (p = 0.08). The sHR (95% CI) for newly and previously diagnosed HIV (vs. people without HIV) were 1.6 (1.3, 1.9) and 1.9 (1.5, 2.4) for males, and 1.5 (1.2, 1.8) and 1.2 (0.9, 1.7) for females. The risk of depression increased with age [sHR 1.3 (1.1, 1.5), 80 + vs. 65–69] and cohort period [sHR 1.3 (1.1, 1.5), 2011–2015 vs. 1995–2000]. Conclusions: HIV infection increased the risk of developing depression within 5 years, especially among people with newly diagnosed HIV and females. This risk increased with older age and in recent HIV epidemic periods, suggesting a need for robust mental health treatment in HIV primary care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-308
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Competing risk
  • Depression
  • HIV
  • Medicare
  • Retrospective cohort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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