Depressive Symptoms in Blood Donors Notified of HIV Infection
Understanding more about the psychological state of persons notified of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is critical for designing notification and counseling programs that will have the most positive effect. Methods. The subjects were blood donors who had been notified of HIV infection by the New York Blood Center. A nurse elicited a medical history, performed a limited medical examination, and asked the subjects to complete a questionnaire that included questions about drug use, sexual behavior, and psychological characteristics. The subjects completed another questionnaire approximately 2 weeks later. Results. The average depressive symptom scores for both men and women were substantially higher than scores typically found in representative population samples. More than a quarter of the men and more than a third of the women reported seeking psychological or psychiatric services in the first few weeks following notification. Conclusions. Anticipating and meeting individuals' psychological needs may be necessary if HIV screening programs are to address effectively the needs of persons infected with HIV.