To examine the effect of human immunodeficiency virus antibody testing on suicidal ideation among physically asymptomatic subjects at perceived risk for infection, 244 men and 57 women completed the Beck Depression Inventory 2 weeks before and 1 week and 2 months after notification. All subjects received extensive pretest and posttest counseling. Among the 49 seropositive subjects, rates of suicidal ideation on item 9 of the Beck Depression Inventory were 28.6% at entry and 27.1% and 16.3% at the two follow-up assessments; none reported increased suicidal ideation at 2 months. Among the 252 seronegative subjects, suicidal ideation decreased from 30.6% at entry to 17.1% and 15.9% at 1 week and 2 months after notification, respectively. Suicidal ideation correlated with modified Beck Depression Inventory scores (r=.50 to.55). Among the 4.7% of seropositives and seronegatives with suicidal wishes or intent at any assessment, average modified Beck Depression Inventory scores (mean, 17.1) suggested a clinical depression.
Perry S, Jacobsberg L, Fishman B. Suicidal Ideation and HIV Testing. JAMA. 1990;263(5):679-682. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440050073036