Depressive features among adult patients receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV in Rustenburg district, SA

T Bongongo, John Tumbo, Indiran Govender


Background. Globally, it is estimated that depressive features occur in 15 - 36% of people suffering from chronic diseases and 60% of people with HIV/AIDS. A high prevalence of mental disorders among HIV-infected individuals has been shown in South Africa and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Untreated depression leads to poor adherence to treatment and poor quality of life for patients with chronic diseases.

Methods. Using the Zung self-rating scale, we screened for depressive features among adult patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) who attended primary healthcare facilities in the Rustenburg district of North West Province in South Africa during December 2009.

Results. Among 117 participants, 81 (69.2 %) had mild depressive features, 2 (1.7%) had moderate depressive features, 1 (0.9 %) had severe depressive features and 33 (28.2%) did not have depressive features. Depressive features were more common in males (77.1%) than in females (69.5%), and were most common in patients taking the combination of efavirenz, lamivudine and stavudine.

Conclusion. Depressive features seem to be common among adult patients receiving HAART and attending primary healthcare facilities in the Rustenburg district. 


Depression; HIV/AIDS; Antiretroviral therapy

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Submitted: 01 December 2012
Published: 01 June 2013

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)