Sources of emotional distress associated with diarrhea among late middle-age and older HIV-infected adults.
Adherence to combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) remains critical in management of HIV infection. This study evaluated depression as a potential mechanism by which HIV-related symptoms affect medication adherence and explored if particular clusters of HIV symptoms are susceptible to this mechanism. Baseline data from a multi-visit intervention study were analyzed among 124 persons living with HIV (PLWH). A bifactor model showed two clusters of HIV-related symptom distress: general HIV-related symptoms and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Structural equation modeling showed that both general HIV-related symptoms and GI symptoms were related to higher levels of depressive symptoms, and higher levels of depressive symptoms were related to lower levels of medication adherence. Although general HIV-related symptoms and GI symptoms were not directly related to adherence, they were indirectly associated with adherence via depression. The findings highlight the importance of early recognition and evaluation of symptoms of depression, as well as the underlying physical symptoms that might cause depression, to improve medication adherence.