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Open Access

Major depression and generalized anxiety disorder among HTLV-I/II infected former blood donors

  • Anne M Guiltinan1Email author,
  • Zhanna Kaidarova1,
  • Dee Behan2,
  • Cheryl Marosi3,
  • Sheila Hutching4,
  • Mandi Kaiser5,
  • Elane Moore5,
  • Deborah DeVita1, 6 and
  • Edward L Murphy1, 6
Retrovirology20118(Suppl 1):A70

Published: 6 June 2011


Anxiety DisorderMajor DepressionVirus TypeAlcohol IntakeBlood Donor


Other studies have reported high rates of depression and anxiety among human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infected subjects, and have even suggested that HTLV-I causes psychiatric disease.


We interviewed HTLV-I, HTLV-II and demographically similar HTLV seronegative blood donors with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Prevalences of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder in each group were calculated and compared to published U.S. population data. Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) controlling for educational achievement, alcohol intake and self-reported health status were calculated with multivariate logistic regression.


Major depression was diagnosed in 5 (5.4%) of 93 HTLV-I positive subjects (aOR = 2.19, 95% CI 0.63-7.55) and 17 (6.6%) of 256 HTLV-II positive subjects (aOR = 1.61, 95% CI 0.66-3.92), compared to 12 (2.1%) of 585 HTLV seronegative blood donors. The prevalence of major depression among infected subjects was comparable to the 6.7% prevalence in the U.S. general population. Generalized anxiety disorder was diagnosed in 5 (5.4%) HTLV-I positive subjects (OR= 2.32, 95% CI 0.74-7.26) and 12 (4.7%) HTLV-II positive subjects (OR = 1.65 95% CI 0.68-4.01), compared to 15 (2.6%) seronegatives and 3.1% in the U.S. general population.


We observed slightly higher prevalence of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder among HTLV-I and HTLV-II subjects that was not significantly elevated after controlling for health status and other confounding variables. Comparison to U.S. population data suggested that these findings are in part explained by a “healthy blood donor effect” among our controls.



For the HTLV outcomes study (HOST)

Authors’ Affiliations

Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco, USA
American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region, Baltimore, USA
American Red Cross Blood Services, SE Michigan Region, Detroit, USA
American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern California Region, Pomona, USA
Oklahoma Blood Institute, Oklahoma City, USA
University of California, San Francisco, USA


© Guiltinan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.