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February 1991

Depression, Distress, Lymphocyte Subsets, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Symptoms on Two Occasions in HIV-Positive Homosexual Men

Author Affiliations

From the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, and the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(2):111-119. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810260019002

• We evaluated the extent to which depressive disorders, psychiatric distress, and psychosocial stressors are related to three measures of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) illness, both cross-sectionally and during a 6-month period, in a community sample of 124 HIV-positive homosexual men. The dependent variables are immune status measured by CD4 and CD8 cell subsets, number of signs and symptoms commonly associated with HIV infection, and a cumulative index of HIV illness stage. We chose to focus on CD4 cell count because it is the immune marker most closely linked to the clinical consequences of HIV infection. We found no relationships between the independent variables and immune status or illness stage. The HIV-positive men who were depressed or distressed or who reported more life stressors had no greater immunosuppression or more advanced illness stage than did the others, either concurrently or across occasions. We did find a suggestive pattern of association between depressive disorders, distress, and stressors and the number of HIV-related symptoms, which warrants further study.

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