Levels of self-reported depression and anxiety among HIV-positive patients in Albania: a cross-sectional study

Morrison, Shane D.; Banushi, Vilson H.; Sarnquist, Clea; Gashi, Valbona H.; Osterberg, Lars; Maldonado, Yvonne; Harxhi, Arjan
October 2011
Croatian Medical Journal;Oct2011, Vol. 52 Issue 5, p622
Academic Journal
Aim To gain an initial perspective of mental health issues facing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive population at the University Hospital Center of Tirana (UHCT) HIV/AIDS Ambulatory Clinic. Methods From June-August 2009, we conducted semistructured interviews with 79 patients (93% response rate) at the UHCT HIV/AIDS Ambulatory Clinic. The interviews assessed patient-reported histories of mental health diagnoses, patients' demographics, and current emotional health status. Results The percentage of patients who reported a history of diagnosis of depression or anxiety was high - 62.3% and 82.3%, respectively. Factors associated with a history of depression included having been diagnosed with anxiety (P < 0.001), having a higher number of barriers to care (P < 0.001), having a higher number of current medical and social needs (P < 0.001), or having not obtained antiretroviral therapy (ART) abroad (P = 0.004). Factors associated with a history of anxiety included having been on firstline ART (P = 0.008), having been diagnosed with HIV for shorter periods of time (P = 0.043), having been diagnosed with depression (P < 0.001), having a higher number of current medical and social needs (P = 0.035), or having not obtained ART abroad (P = 0.003). Conclusions Mental health problems are widespread among the known HIV-positive patient population in Albania. The high prevalences of anxiety and depression and of dual diagnoses of these conditions suggest the need for more mental health care for HIV-positive patients in Albania.


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