Suicidal behaviour in people with HIV/AIDS: A review

A. Komiti, F. Judd, P. Grech, A. Mijch, J. Hoy, J. H. Lloyd, A. Street

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Objective: To review the existing literature on suicidal behaviour in people with HIV/AIDS infection. Method: A search on the Index Medicus/MEDLINE database was performed, for articles that investigated and/or reviewed suicidal behaviour in people with HIV at any stage of the illness. Only articles written in English were used in this review. Results: Most studies have been done on homosexual/bisexual groups, with little data available for heterosexual populations or women. Studies show an increased rate of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and completed suicide in individuals with HIV/AIDS. Of note, there is a high prevalence of psychiatric illness and substance abuse in those with suicidal behaviour. Conclusions: The increased rate of suicidal behaviour in HIV-infected persons is consistent with findings in other medically ill groups with chronic, life-threatening disorders. However, assessment of any possible direct effect of HIV/AIDS on suicidal behaviour is confounded by methodological limitations of many of the studies. More longitudinal studies encompassing other affected groups including heterosexual populations and women are needed to elucidate the relationship between suicidal behaviour and HIV/AIDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-757
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Suicide

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