Journal Article

Validated Method for Tracking Changes in Depression Status In Older Persons With HIV/AIDS

The frequency of depression in older adults with HIV is known to be higher than in matched populations. A challenge for assessment is the diagnosis of depression over time using a valid screening test. This study reports on the use of the CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies –Depression) scale as a screening test. It was evaluated in a 5-year longitudinal study of over 1500 MSM (men who have sex with men) participants, ages 50 and over, both with and without HIV. Single and multiple test scores were validated against assessments using all available clinical data and found to be good indicators of depression status. A standard test score of 16 was quite sensitive (without many false negatives) to baseline depressive symptoms and to changes in status over time. A higher score of 20 was found to give more specific results without many false positives. Although the article stresses its use in longitudinal studies, there is the potential that the CES-D screening might be an assist in clinical practice.

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