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Comparing HIV infection to Other High Risk Conditions for Risk of Depression in Pregnancy


Data on the prevalence and risk factors associated with depression during pregnancy present a mixed picture. A recent national survey of psychiatric disorders during pregnancy and postpartum found that pregnant women were less likely than non-pregnant women to be suffering from a mood disorder (Vesga-Lopez et al., 2008). However, the same study showed that women experiencing pregnancy complications were at increased risk for psychiatric disorders compared to other pregnant women.

Mothers with HIV are at high risk for a range of mental health symptoms and disorders (McClure et al., 1996; McEnany et al., 1996; Semple et al., 1996). What is not yet known is whether HIV infection, particularly when good treatment is available and rates of mother-to child transmission are minimized, is one of the health problems that puts a woman into that ‘high risk’ category in relation to being at increased risk for experiencing depression during pregnancy.

The NIH provided funding for an investigation of the prevalence and risk factors for perinatal depression among HIV infected and uninfected women in Brazil (1R21TW008224 - 01A1). The first aim of this grant is to compare the prevalence of depression among pregnant HIV infected women with healthy pregnant non-HIV infected women to identify the added burden HIV infection brings to the risk for depression during pregnancy. The purpose of this global health submission is to add an additional sample of non-HIV infected women experiencing high risk pregnancies to compare the rates of depression among these women with those who are HIV infected. Including a sample of non-HIV infected high risk pregnant women will greatly strengthen the results of the overall investigation and improve chances for obtaining a subsequent R01 project to target an intervention study for prenatal depression.


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