Impact of Depression and Inflammation on the Progression of HIV Disease

Yainyrette Rivera-Rivera, F


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic has negatively affected over 40 million people worldwide. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has improved life expectancy and changed the outcome of HIV-1 infection, making it a chronic and manageable disease. However, AIDS and non-AIDS comorbid illnesses persist during the course of infection despite the use of ART. In addition, the development of neuropsychiatric comorbidities (including depression) by HIV-infected subjects significantly affects quality of life, medication adherence, and disease prognosis. The factors associated with depression during HIV-1 infection include altered immune response, the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and monoamine imbalance. Elevated plasma pro-inflammatory cytokine levels contribute to the development of depression and depressive-like behaviors in HIV+ subjects. In addition, comorbid depression influences the decline rates of CD4+ cell counts and increases plasma viral load. Depression can manifest in some subjects despite their adherence to ART. In addition, psychosocial factors related to stigma (negative attitudes, moral issues, and abuse of HIV+ subjects) are also associated with depression. Both neurobiological and psychosocial factors are important considerations for the effective clinical management of HIV and the prevention of HIV disease progression.

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