AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 1430–1437 | Cite as

Depression and Apathy Among People Living with HIV: Implications for Treatment of HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders

  • Vaughn E. Bryant
  • Nicole E. Whitehead
  • Larry E. BurrellII
  • Vonetta M. Dotson
  • Robert L. Cook
  • Paul Malloy
  • Kathryn Devlin
  • Ronald A. Cohen
Original Paper


Depression and apathy are common among people living with HIV (PLWH). However, in PLWH, it is unclear whether depression and apathy are distinct conditions, which contribute to different patterns of disruption to cognitive processing and brain systems. Understanding these conditions may enable the development of prognostic indicators for HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). The present study examined substance use behavior and cognitive deficits, associated with depression and apathy, in 120 PLWH, using hierarchical regression analyses. Higher levels of depression were associated with a history of alcohol dependence and greater deficits in processing speed, motor and global cognitive functioning. Higher levels of apathy were associated with a history of cocaine dependence. It is recommended that PLWH get screened appropriately for apathy and depression, in order to receive the appropriate treatment, considering the comorbidities associated with each condition. Future research should examine the neurological correlates of apathy and depression in PLWH.


HIV Depression Apathy Substance Cognition 



This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grants R01MH074368 and P01AA019072), and the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research (Grant P30AI042853). This research has been facilitated by the infrastructure and resources provided by the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research and The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center.

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vaughn E. Bryant
    • 1
  • Nicole E. Whitehead
    • 1
  • Larry E. BurrellII
    • 1
  • Vonetta M. Dotson
    • 1
  • Robert L. Cook
    • 2
  • Paul Malloy
    • 3
  • Kathryn Devlin
    • 4
  • Ronald A. Cohen
    • 5
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Health PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Aging and Geriatric ResearchUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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