Challenges in addressing depression in HIV research: Assessment, cultural context, and methods

Jane M. Simoni, Steven A. Safren, Lisa E. Manhart, Karen Lyda, Cynthia I. Grossman, Deepa Rao, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Frank Y. Wong, Sheryl L. Catz, Michael B. Blank, Ralph Diclemente, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Depression is one of the most common co-morbidities of HIV infection. It negatively impacts self-care, quality of life, and biomedical outcomes among people living with HIV (PLWH) and may interfere with their ability to benefit from health promotion interventions. State-of-the-science research among PLWH, therefore, must address depression. To guide researchers, we describe the main diagnostic, screening, and symptom-rating measures of depression, offering suggestions for selecting the most appropriate instrument. We also address cultural considerations in the assessment of depression among PLWH, emphasizing the need to consider measurement equivalence and offering strategies for developing measures that are valid cross-culturally. Finally, acknowledging the high prevalence of depression among PLWH, we provide guidance to researchers on incorporating depression into the theoretical framework of their studies and employing procedures that account for participants with depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-388
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Depression
  • Measurement
  • Research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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