Comprehensive Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy

By Myrna M. Weissman; John C. Markowitz et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 18
IPT for Depressed
HIV-Positive Patients
(IPT-HIV)

In 1987, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that more than a million Americans were infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) ( Centers for Disease Control, 1990). The virus has clearly spread since. When the HIV epidemic emerged in the 1980s, young adults died acutely, at first mysteriously. There were no effective treatments. Thus there was concern that depression would be rampant among those infected: "Who wouldn't be depressed, being HIV-positive?" A group at Cornell University Medical College, including the late Gerald L. Klerman, M.D., the late Samuel W. Perry, M.D., John Markowitz, M.D., and Kathleen Clougherty, M.S.W., tested the efficacy of IPT as an antidepressant treatment for this at-risk population.

The epidemiology of depression among HIV-infected people can only be guessed at. The reason for this is that the epidemiology of HIV infection is itself unknown: there have been no large-scale studies, and most people who are HIV-positive do not yet themselves know it. The prevalence of depression among HIV-positive individuals cannot be known without knowing first who is HIV-positive.

Studies of small samples of HIV-positive patients suggest that most people infected with the virus do not become depressed. Moreover, most of

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