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Depression, Internalized HIV Stigma and HIV Disclosure

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DOI: 10.4236/wja.2015.51004    2,918 Downloads   3,699 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Purpose: There is extensive evidence regarding the relationship between HIV related stigma and disclosure; however, the influence of depression in this relationship is not well understood, and thus is the focus of our analysis. Methods: Baseline data from a prospective longitudinal cohort of 798 HIV patients starting ART in Kampala, Uganda were examined. A staged-approach regression analysis was used to examine variables associated with HIV disclosure to most people (general disclosure) and disclosure to primary sex partner. Internalized HIV stigma plus demographic and background covariates were first entered into the model; the binary indicator of clinical depression was added on step two, followed by the addition of the interaction of stigma and depression in step three. Separate analyses were conducted for each of the two disclosure outcomes. Results: 39% indicated that they kept their HIV status as a secret from most people, while 19% of respondents with a regular sex partner had not disclosed their HIV status to the partner. In bivariate analysis, respondents who preferred to keep their HIV status as a secret from most people had higher internalized HIV stigma (p < 0.001) and depression (p < 0.01), and were more likely to be clinically depressed (p < 0.01) compared with others in the sample. Similarly, participants who had not disclosed their HIV status to their main sex partner had higher internalized HIV stigma (p < 0.01) and depression (p < 0.05), and were more likely to be clinically depressed (p < 0.01) compared with those who had informed their partner of their HIV status. The regression analysis revealed that internalized HIV stigma was strongly negatively correlated with disclosure to primary partner, while depression was not associated. In the regression analysis for general disclosure, both stigma and depression were negatively correlated with disclosure when the interaction term was included in the model. Further analysis showed that internalized HIV stigma was more strongly associated with general disclosure among participants who were not depressed. Conclusions: Although there was clearly a strong and consistent association between internalized HIV stigma and depression symptoms, the strong association between internalized HIV stigma and general disclosure among respondents who were not depressed indicated that HIV stigma was in itself remained a strong barrier to HIV disclosure. Therefore, interventions to reduce internalized HIV stigma may aid in efforts to decrease secondary transmission of HIV.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Okello, E. , Wagner, G. , Ghosh-Dastidar, B. , Garnett, J. , Akena, D. , Nakasujja, N. and Musisi, S. (2015) Depression, Internalized HIV Stigma and HIV Disclosure. World Journal of AIDS, 5, 30-40. doi: 10.4236/wja.2015.51004.

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