Objective: The risk of clinically significant depressive symptoms increases during perimenopause. With highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), more human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women survive to transition through menopause. In a cross-sectional analysis, we evaluated the association of menopausal stage and vasomotor symptoms with depressive symptoms in an ethnically diverse cohort of women with a high prevalence of HIV.
Methods: Participants included 835 HIV-infected women and 335 HIV-uninfected controls from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (63% African American). The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to screen for elevated depressive symptoms. Menopausal stages were defined according to standard definitions. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of elevated depressive symptoms.
Results: Compared with premenopausal women, early perimenopausal women (OR [odds ratio], 1.74; 95% CI, 1.17-2.60), but not late perimenopausal or postmenopausal women, were more likely to show elevated depressive symptoms in adjusted analyses. The odds were similar in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. Persistent vasomotor symptoms also predicted elevated depressive symptoms in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women (OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.02-2.06). In HIV-infected women, menopausal stage interacted with antiretroviral use (P = 0.02); the likelihood of elevated depressive symptoms in early perimenopause compared with premenopause was especially high in HAART-untreated women (OR, 3.87; 95% CI, 1.57-9.55).
Conclusions: In HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women, the odds of elevated depressive symptoms were significantly higher during early perimenopause. Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with nonadherence to HAART, underscoring the importance of screening and treating depressive symptoms in HIV-infected women who have experienced a change in the regularity of their menstrual cycles.