Among people with HIV, mood disorders are associated with a higher risk of health problems, particularly metabolic syndrome, meaning having at least three of the following conditions: high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or high blood lipid levels.

Investigators studied 4,140 people with HIV who attended the Vanderbilt University HIV clinic between 1998 and 2015. The cohort members were assessed for cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, non-AIDS-defining cancers, dementia and metabolic syndrome.

Having a mood disorder, the study authors found, was associated with a 1.29-fold increased likelihood of being diagnosed with a new health condition during the study’s follow-up period, a 1.04-fold to 1.42-fold increased likelihood of being diagnosed with multiple health conditions and a 1.29-fold increased likelihood of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

After adjusting the data to account for various differences among the study members, the researchers found that factors associated with an increased risk of death among those with multiple health conditions included older age (1.65-fold increased risk), female sex (1.42-fold increased risk) and higher viral load (1.21-fold increased risk per 10-fold increase in viral load). Conversely, for every 100-point higher CD4 count, there was a 15% decrease in the risk of death.

“This study is an important step to identify who may benefit from additional prevention and screening efforts,” said the study’s lead author, Jessica L. Castilho, MD, MPH, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.