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Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are both associated with increased risk of mood disorders and poorer quality of life (QOL). This association has not been explored in patients living with comorbid DM and HIV.
Aim: To describe the prevalence of depressive symptoms and impact on the QOL in patients with DM living with and without HIV attending a public sector hospital in South Africa.
Setting: A medical outpatient clinic at a state regional hospital.
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire pilot survey was conducted amongst 101 patients with DM attending a specialist medical outpatient service. The assessment was conducted using a structured socio-demographic and clinical questionnaire, the patient health questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) for depressive symptoms and the World Health Organization QOL scale. The HIV status was confirmed from the clinical records. The correlates of depressive symptomatology in the participants with DM living with and without HIV were identified using t-tests.
Results: The prevalence of depressive symptoms in the participants with DM was 36%. Moderate to severe depression was associated with female gender (p = 0.03) and low educational level (p = 0.02) but not with HIV comorbidity or clinical characteristics of DM. The QOL was influenced by moderate to severe depressive symptoms (QOL in physical p < 0.218 and environmental p < 0.001 domains), but not HIV status (p = 0.218).
Conclusion: A substantial proportion of people with DM reported depressive symptoms, which is slightly higher than the average reported in other out-patient studies. The association of depression with poor QOL highlights the need for integrated mental health access in medical outpatient services. The lack of association between comorbid HIV status and DM with depression or QOL needs to be further explored.