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Keywords:

  • human immunodeficiency virus;
  • suicide;
  • attempt;
  • risk;
  • factors

Objective: To examine the risk factors for suicidal behaviour in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive patients.

Method: HIV substance dependent positive patients who had attempted suicide were compared with HIV substance dependent positive patients who had never attempted suicide for suicide risk factors.

Results: Among the 149 HIV positive patients examined almost half had attempted suicide. Significantly more HIV positive patients who had attempted suicide were female. Attempters were significantly younger than non-attempters. Significantly more of the attempters had a family history of suicidal behaviour. Attempters also reported significantly more childhood trauma, scored significantly higher for neuroticism, had experienced significantly more comorbidity with depression, and more of them had received antidepressant medication.

Conclusion: These data suggest that both distal and proximal risk factors are involved in suicidal behaviour in HIV positive substance dependent patients.