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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Treatment With Antiretroviral Therapy Mitigates the High Risk of Mental Health Disorders Associated With HIV Infection in the US Population.

BACKGROUND: Whether treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with antiretroviral therapy (ART) is associated with lower risk of mental health disorders (MHDs) among people with HIV (PWH) remains unknown. We aim to determine the association between HIV and MHDs and whether ART alters the risk of MHDs among PWH in the US adult population.

METHODS: We conducted a real-world study using the Merative MarketScan claims database (2016-2020), identifying individuals with HIV (diagnosed using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification codes) and those without HIV. A multivariable stratified Cox proportional hazard regression model was conducted to examine the association of HIV treatment status with MHDs, adjusting for potential confounders. Additionally, we sought to determine the effect modification of ART on the relationship between living with HIV and MHDs.

RESULTS: A total of 313 539 individuals, with a mean age of 44.2 (standard deviation, 11.4) years, predominantly males (81.2%), residing in the South region of the US (50.9%) were included in the present analysis. During 671 880 person-years of follow-up, 46 235 incident MHD cases occurred. In the multivariable Cox proportional hazard model, living with HIV was associated with higher risk of incident MHDs. Relative to those without HIV, the adjusted hazard ratio was 1.85 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.79-1.92; P < .001) for those with HIV on treatment, and 2.70 (95% CI, 2.59-2.82; P < .001) for those with HIV without any treatment. Stronger associations between HIV and MHDs were observed in men relative to women, among those aged 18-34 years relative to those aged 55-63 years, and among those with no overweight/obesity relative to obese individuals ( P interaction < .001 for all).

CONCLUSIONS: HIV was associated with an increased risk of developing MHDs. However, HIV treatment mitigated the risk.

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