Document Type



Doctor of Nursing Practice



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Laura Kuensting, DNP, APRN, PCNS-BC, CPNP, CPEN


Sheila Grigsby, PhD, RN, MPH, APHN-BC

Pat Plumley, MSW, MA, LNHA


Problem: Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder among individuals living with HIV. Depression rates are three times greater than those found in the general population . Undiagnosed and untreated depression can have a negative effect on the management of HIV infection, resulting in increased mortality and a poorer quality of life. The purpose of this quality improvement initiative was to assess the incidence of depression in HIV-positive individuals living in a residential community.

Methods: A prospective, descriptive, cohort design. Convenience sample of HIV-positive adult residents living in an HIV residential community. The nine-question patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) was voluntarily completed by residents attending a quarterly residential meeting.

Results: There were 21 HIV-positive individuals who attended a meeting in May 2019 and completed the PHQ-9 (N=21). There were 12 participants (n=12, 57%) whose PHQ-9 scores indicated depression (95% CI 36%, 78%). Of those, seven participants (n=7, 33%) had PHQ-9 scores above nine and required immediate referral.

Implications for practice: Nearly 60% of the participants in this project had PHQ-9 scores positive for depression, and over 30% required immediate referral to a mental health specialist. Mental health services are necessary for many individuals living with HIV. Having mental health services available or a referral process in place is recommended, especially in a Black community.