, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 2765-2772
Date: 23 Aug 2013

Does Effective Depression Treatment Alone Reduce Secondary HIV Transmission Risk? Equivocal Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Depressed mood has been associated with HIV transmission risk behavior. To determine whether effective depression treatment could reduce the frequency of sexual risk behavior, we analyzed secondary outcome data from a 36-week, two-arm, parallel-design, randomized controlled trial, in which homeless and marginally housed, HIV-infected persons with comorbid depressive disorders were randomized to receive either: (a) directly observed treatment with the antidepressant medication fluoxetine, or (b) referral to a local public mental health clinic. Self-reported sexual risk outcomes, which were measured at 3, 6, and 9 months, included: total number of sexual partners, unprotected sexual intercourse, unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV-uninfected partner or a partner of unknown serostatus, and transactional sex. Estimates from generalized estimating equations regression models did not suggest consistent reductions in sexual risk behaviors resulting from treatment. Mental health interventions may need to combine depression treatment with specific skills training in order to achieve durable impacts on HIV prevention outcomes.