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March 22/29, 2006

Depression Among Pregnant Rural South African Women Undergoing HIV Testing

JAMA. 2006;295(12):1373-1378. doi:10.1001/jama.295.12.1376

To the Editor: Rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in southern Africa are high, with up to 45% of pregnant women being HIV-positive.1 Depression is associated with lowered adherence to antiretroviral medication2 and poor use of antenatal care.3 It frequently persists into the postnatal period, raising the risk of adverse child outcomes.3 Because little is known about the rates of depression among women undergoing HIV testing in prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs (PMTCT), we undertook this prevalence study. A secondary aim was assessment of perceptions among these women about adverse consequences of an HIV diagnosis, and whether these perceptions were related to depression status.

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