A study of HIV-positive women receiving prenatal care at a Philadelphia clinic has shown that nearly 60% exhibited signs of depression. Using the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard screening tool, the researchers found that 58% of the women had one or more symptoms. Previous estimates of depression among nonpregnant HIV-positive women are 18% to 19%.
Although the researchers aren't sure why depression might be more common among pregnant HIVers, they did note that sexual abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse could be contributing factors. They also recommended that prenatal care should include depression screenings and treatment, since untreated mental illness can lead to poor adherence to taking antiretroviral medications.