n New Voices in Psychology - HIV and depression : a scoping review of the South African literature

Volume 12 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1812-6731



This scoping review attempts to contextualise the current state of research regarding responding to co-morbid depression and HIV in primary healthcare, identify the gaps in research and develop appropriate recommendations. The researcher used Arksey and O’Malley’s six-stage scoping review method. The researcher reviewed articles from Springer Link, Ebsco Host, Pub Med and Psych Info that were found using the keywords ‘depression’; ‘HIV’; and ‘primary healthcare’ and that were published between 2010 and 2015. A final number of 27 articles were included in the scoping review. The review found that symptoms of depression in HIV positive patients can have a detrimental effect on their health-seeking behaviour and disease progression. Patients often do not report psychological symptoms of depression, unless enquired into, and usually focus on their physical symptoms. Additionally, there is a clear relationship between depression and antiretroviral treatment non-adherence and that treating depression with antidepressants or psychotherapy results in increased levels of adherence. Standardised and routine screening for depression in people living with HIV in primary care is the most ideal solution to this problem; a context-specific model that takes into account the shortage of resources in South Africa is greatly needed.

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