Cocaine Use May be Associated with Increased Depression in Persons Infected with HIV

Edward R. Hammond, Shenghan Lai, Carolyn M. Wright, Glenn J. Treisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIV infection, depression, and cocaine use are independently associated with increased inflammatory signal production. There is increasing evidence about the role of inflammation in depression. In HIV disease, cocaine use may increase disease progression as well as alter T cell functioning resulting in cytokine activation and thereby increasing susceptibility to depression. We examined the association between cocaine use and depression among 447 African American persons infected with HIV who were frequent cocaine users or non-users, enrolled in an observational study in Baltimore, Maryland, between August 2003 and December 2012. The overall prevalence of depression was 40.9 % (183 of 447) participants. Among persons who were depressed, the prevalence of cocaine use was 81.4 % (149 of 183), compared to 69.3 % among persons who were not depressed (183 of 264), P = 0.004. Cocaine use was associated with nearly twofold increased odds of depression, unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.94, (95 % CI 1.23, 3.06); P = 0.004, compared to never using cocaine, and OR 1.02, (95 % CI 1.10, 1.05); P = 0.04 in adjusted analysis. A dose–response relationship between increasing duration of cocaine use and depression was observed. Frequency and duration of cocaine use may be associated with depression. We speculate that depression among cocaine users with HIV may involve an inflammatory component that needs further examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Cocaine
  • Depression
  • HIV
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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