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CROI 2014: How Depression Impacts HIV (Video)

April 14, 2014

Esteban Martínez, M.D., Ph.D., and Karl Goodkin, M.D., sit down to talk about the connection between depression, control of HIV and heart failure. Overall, HIV-infected patients have a 45% lifetime risk of a depressive disorder, compared to a 4%-7% risk in the general population. This may be partly due to HIV's effect on the central nervous system, according to one study presented at CROI 2014.

The panelists also discuss studies that showed a link between depression and myocardial infarction, as well as a decline in depression as viral load is better suppressed. While viral load may be driving depression, this mental health issue is also driving viral load through a lack of adherence or retention in care. Additionally, they explain that depression is underdiagnosed in the U.S. and Spain, and hypothesize that this may contribute to the difficulty of controlling HIV in certain individuals.

Watch the video to learn more:

More on the panelists:

  • Esteban Martínez, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases Unit Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona
  • Karl Goodkin, M.D., Director of the Department of Mental Health Care at AIDS Healthcare Foundation

The video above has been posted on with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.

Copyright © 2014 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by TheBodyPRO. It is a part of the publication The 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014).

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Stephen McCormick (Gallipolis, Ohio) Mon., Apr. 21, 2014 at 10:22 am UTC
The first few years are the most difficult. You beg doctors for medications, only to be told that you have to get sicker before they'll even consider medications. They never tell you that you'll have to be so sick that you'll have to quit working. Then, when they finally do start meds, you're so sick that the thought of maintaining a normal life has disappeared. Then, slowly, you begin to feel better, you have fewer coexisting oppertunistic infections, you take your meds regularly, because you never want to be that sick again, and you have this overwhelming desire to try to get your life back. Only to be confronted with the fact that if you try, you'll lose the income you have from either SS or SSI and your medical insurance. Making the process even more out of reach. You hear that you'll be able to continue a normal life expectancy on medication, but what's normal about never being able to work again, being shunned by former friends and family, living alone for the rest of your life with no possibilities of ever finding someone to love, and never having an inkling of the former life you loved. You feel useless, and a drain on society. People tell you to volunteer, but how do you do that on an income that barely allows you the functionality of making copays, rent, power bills, auto-insurance, and food? The life you knew is gone, and any attempt you make as a volunteer ends in disgrace due to a lack of an ability to transport yourself to a volunteer event. Doctors need to stop telling people that they can have a normal life after a diagnosis. This just adds to disappointment and depression, because there is something they say you can achieve, but that achievement never comes, because you're held back monetarily, discriminated against openly, and fighting just to be recognized as a human being rather than a disease.
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Comment by: LJP (New York, NY) Fri., Apr. 18, 2014 at 8:34 am UTC
I didn't listen to all the details but I can tell you that if you have been severely ill due to HIV and are left being a portion of who you were (ie. complete erectile dysfuntion at 32, facial wasting (which I spent ~$10000 on)and taking 18 pills/day are just a few of the constant reminders, there is NO WAY for some of us to recover mentally. Being told to "volunteer" or get more hobbies does not negate my sense of loss.
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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


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