The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of depression among adult HIV/AIDS patients attending HIV/AIDS clinic in a tertiary health facility in Southeastern Nigeria. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive study carried out in June 2007. A consecutive sampling method was used to recruit participants for assessment of the prevalence of depression among HIV/AIDS patients. A pre-tested questionnaire and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were used to collect data. A total of 122 patients were studied and majority of the respondents (86.9%) were between 18 and 40 years with a female preponderance (65.6%). Fifty four percent were married. Almost half of respondents were either traders (27%) or students (22.1%) and majority (80.3%) had a minimum of secondary education. Using HADS, 21.3% were depressed and 21.3% had borderline depression. The main causes of depression were stigmatization and the disease being terminal in nature. Only 53.3% of the total population were aware of HIV support groups, and of this percentage only 46.2% belonged to any support group. Though more of the respondents who do not belong to a support group were more likely to be depressed, the difference was not significant (c2 = 1.40, P = 0.236).Depression is very high among HIV/AIDS patients and belonging to support groups may help in its reduction and should be encouraged.
Key words: Prevalence, depression, HIV/AIDS, support groups, Nigeria.
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