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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 609172, 6 pages
Research Article

Elevated Risk of Suicidal Ideation in HIV-Positive Persons

1Department of Behavioural Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
2Department of Family Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Received 29 June 2015; Accepted 10 September 2015

Academic Editor: Verinder Sharma

Copyright © 2015 L. Schlebusch and R. D. Govender. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Globally, suicide and HIV/AIDS remain two of the greatest healthcare issues, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Several studies have observed a relationship between suicidal behaviour and HIV/AIDS. Materials and Methods. The main objective of this research was to determine the prevalence of elevated risk of suicidal ideation in HIV-positive persons immediately following voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT). The study sample consisted of adult volunteers attending the VCT clinic at a university-affiliated, general state hospital. Participants completed a sociodemographic questionnaire, Beck’s Hopeless Scale, and Beck’s Depression Inventory. Results. A significantly elevated risk of suicidal ideation was found in 83.1% of the patients who tested seropositive. Despite a wide age range in the cohort studied, the majority of patients with suicidal ideation were males in the younger age group (age < 30 years), consistent with the age-related spread of the disease and an increase in suicidal behaviour in younger people. Relevant associated variables are discussed. Conclusion. The results serve as important markers that could alert healthcare professionals to underlying suicide risks in HIV-positive patients. It is recommended that screening for elevated risk of suicidal ideation and prevention of suicidal behaviour should form a routine aspect of comprehensive patient care at VCT clinics.