Pierre Zalagile Akilimali1*, Patou Masika Musumari2, Pierrot LundimuTugirimana3, Paulin Beya Mutombo1, Frederick J Veldman4, Patrick Kalambayi Kayembe5, Mapatano Mala Ali1, Thorkild Tylleskar6, Esperance Kashala-Abotnes6

1University of Kinshasa, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition Democratic Republic of Congo
2Kyoto University School of Public Health, Department of Global Health and Socio-Epidemiology, Kyoto, Japan
3Faculty of Medicine, University of Goma, Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
4KwaZulu-Natal University, Dietetic and Human Nutrition, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
5University of Kinshasa, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Democratic Republic of Congo
6University of Bergen, Centre for International Health, Norway

Background: The study explored the association between the depressive symptoms, loss of appetite and under nutrition among treated HIV patients in Goma, a post conflict setting.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional survey carried out from February 1st to March 3rd, 2016. The prevalence of depressive symptoms and loss of appetite were estimated. A logistic regression model was used to identify the associations between under nutrition, loss of appetite and depressive symptoms, adjusted for other covariates.

Results: The proportion of participants with depressive symptoms was 21.3% (95% CI: 17.1 – 25.5). The prevalence of loss of appetite was 50.1% (95% CI: 45 – 55%). Depressive symptoms (AOR: 2.19; 95%CI: 1.27 – 3.79), smoking (AOR: 2.97; 95%CI: 1.03 – 8.58) and low socio-economic status (AOR: 1.74; 95%CI: 1.05 – 2.88) were associated with loss of appetite. Loss of appetite (AOR: 3.29; 95% CI: 1.92 – 5.64) and receiving efavirenz (AOR: 2.13; 95% CI: 1.24 – 3.66) were significantly associated with under nutrition.

Conclusion: The fact that about one-fifth hand half of the sample reported having respectively depressive symptoms and the lack of appetite demonstrates the magnitude of the problems. There is a need for longitudinal studies to elucidate the pathways linking depressive symptoms, appetite and under nutrition.

Keywords: Depressive Symptoms; Loss of Appetite; Under Nutrition; HIV; Antiretroviral