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Depression screening as a tool for improving clinical care of youth with HIV.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Tiffany Chenneville

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Background: Youth represent a substantial number of new and existing HIV cases. It is well established that depressive symptoms are common among people with HIV, and there is some indication that such symptoms are more prevalent among youth compared to adults. The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of a depression screener to improve clinical care of youth with HIV.

Methods: A pediatric and adolescent infectious diseases program in the US conducted depression screeners with youth ages 11-25. Measures included the Patient Health Questionnaire-Adolescent (PHQ-A) and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9; Kroenke & Spitzer, 2002). Data were analyzed based on an archival review of 98 cases.

Results: The majority of the sample was African American (69%) heterosexual (65%) females (56%) between the ages of 18-24 (80%). Most were perinatally infected (60%). Initial findings suggest that 42% of the sample was at risk for mild to severe depression. The following symptoms were endorsed frequently: fatigue (50+%), trouble sleeping (50%), feeling bad about self (30%), and feelings of hopelessness (40%).

Conclusions: The clinical implications of these findings include the need for universal psychoeducation about depression, specific behavioral strategies for highrisk groups, and comprehensive biopsychosocial assessments in clinical settings for youth with HIV. To increase the quality of life and functioning of youth with HIV, further research in the area of mental health is needed.




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