Association between internalized stigma and depression among HIV-positive persons entering into care in Southern India
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CitationChan, Brian T, Amrose Pradeep, Lakshmi Prasad, Vinothini Murugesan, Ezhilarasi Chandrasekaran, Nagalingeswaran Kumarasamy, Kenneth H Mayer, and Alexander C Tsai. 2017. “Association between internalized stigma and depression among HIV-positive persons entering into care in Southern India.” Journal of Global Health 7 (2): 020403. doi:10.7189/jogh.07.020403. http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.07.020403.
AbstractBackground: In India, which has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world, depression and HIV–related stigma may contribute to high rates of poor HIV–related outcomes such as loss to care and lack of virologic suppression. Methods: We analyzed data from a large HIV treatment center in southern India to estimate the burden of depressive symptoms and internalized stigma among Indian people living with HIV (PLHIV) entering into HIV care and to test the hypothesis that probable depression was associated with internalized stigma. We fitted modified Poisson regression models, adjusted for sociodemographic variables, with probable depression (PHQ–9 score ≥10 or recent suicidal thoughts) as the outcome variable and the Internalized AIDS–Related Stigma Scale (IARSS) score as the explanatory variable. Findings: 521 persons (304 men and 217 women) entering into HIV care between January 2015 and May 2016 were included in the analyses. The prevalence of probable depression was 10% and the mean IARSS score was 2.4 (out of 6), with 82% of participants endorsing at least one item on the IARSS. There was a nearly two times higher risk of probable depression for every additional point on the IARSS score (Adjusted Risk Ratio: 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.56–2.14). Conclusions: Depression and internalized stigma are highly correlated among PLHIV entering into HIV care in southern India and may provide targets for policymakers seeking to improve HIV–related outcomes in India.
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