HIV and depression

HIV and depression

HIV/Aids centre

HIV and depression

Depression is a separate illness that can and should receive treatment in addition to the treatment the sufferer is undergoing for HIV or Aids. However, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated.

HIV infection can be a very challenging and exhausting illness. It often affects not only your body, but your mind and emotions as well. If you notice, or someone tells you that you show signs of depression, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
Depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated, as the warning signs are often misinterpreted. People with HIV, their families and friends should be careful not to assume that the symptoms of depression are the inevitable reactions of someone who has been diagnosed with HIV. Depression is a separate illness that can and should receive treatment in addition to the treatment the person is undergoing for HIV or Aids.

While some of the symptoms of depression could be related to specific HIV-related disorders (such as hepatitis B or C) or the side-effects of medication, a skilled health professional should be able to recognise the symptoms of depression and suggest appropriate treatment.

How to recognise the signs of depression

If you have experienced any five of the following symptoms for at least two weeks, ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a mental health professional for information about what treatments are available for the condition:

  • Do you have persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety?
  • Does your mood change often?
  • Have your experienced appetite and/or weight changes?
  • Is it hard for you to concentrate, remember or make decisions?
  • Do you feel the joy has gone from your life?
  • Do things that used to be important now have little or no meaning to you?
  • Do simple tasks – such as getting out of bed in the morning – require a great effort to complete?
  • Do you have feelings of guilt or failure?
  • Does the future seem hopeless?
  • Have your sleep patterns changed, that is do you suffer from insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping?
  • Are you restless and/or irritable?
  • Do you have thoughts of suicide? If you have been thinking about suicide, have tried to hurt yourself, or have a plan on how to hurt yourself, notify your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.


Symptoms of depression.
Depression and HIV.