HIV, Depression, and Cognitive Impairment in the Era of Effective Antiretroviral Therapy

  • Leah H. RubinEmail author
  • Pauline M. Maki
Central Nervous System and Cognition (SS Spudich, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Central Nervous System and Cognition
  2. Topical Collection on Central Nervous System and Cognition


Purpose of Review

Mental health disorders, especially depression, are prevalent among people living with HIV (PLWH) and are associated with cognitive impairment (CI) among HIV-uninfected (HIV−) individuals. We conducted a comprehensive review of the link between depression and cognition among PLWH.

Recent Findings

Studies examining depression and cognition in PLWH report high rates of current (median = 24%) and lifetime depression (42%). There is reliable evidence that depression is associated with overall CI among PLWH, and in the cognitive domains of processing speed, executive function, learning and memory, and motor function. Although few studies have examined the interaction between HIV serostatus and depression on CI, there is no evidence of a stronger association between CI and depression in PLWH compared with HIV− controls.


Depression is prevalent and reliably associated with CI in PLWH, with an overall pattern of domain-specific associations similar to that of HIV− individuals.


HIV Depression Depressive symptoms Cognitive impairment HAND 



Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01MH113512 (Rubin).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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