HIV/AIDS and depression among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Tanzania

Hycienth Ahaneku, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Purpose: To determine the prevalence of HIV and depression among men who have sex with men (MSM) and to evaluate factors associated with HIV and depression using a sample of MSM from Tanzania.^ Methodology: The data were collected from two cities in Tanzania between 2012 and 2013 using the respondent driven sampling (RDS) method. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire and by assessing blood, urine and anal swab samples from respondents. Separate regression analyses were conducted to assess factors associated with the main dependent variables: HIV status and Depression. HIV status was assessed by rapid serologic tests while depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire scale (PHQ-9).^ Results: 300 MSM participated in the study – 200 from Dar es Salaam (DES) and 100 from Tanga. The overall HIV prevalence for the whole sample was 23.7%. The prevalence of HIV was higher in DES (30.2%) than in Tanga (11.1%). For DES subjects, using water based lubricant (AOR= 3.27, 95% CI= 1.44 – 7.42) was significantly associated with HIV infection. For Tanga subjects, none of the variables were significantly associated with HIV infection. Prevalence of depression was 46.3% in our sample. In the bivariate analysis, depression was associated with HIV (p<0.001). In the multivariable regression only verbal abuse was associated with depression (APR=1.91, CI =1.30 – 2.81). ^ Conclusion: HIV prevalence was significantly higher in a large metropolitan city (DES) compared to a smaller provincial city (Tanga). The results also show significant differences in certain HIV risk factors between cities. This result underscores the need for HIV interventions that are tailored to needs of MSM especially in the context of the areas in which they reside. The study also showed a high burden of depression among our sample and an association with verbal abuse. The results demonstrate a need for addressing mental health needs of MSM. We suggest the co-location of mental health and HIV preventive services as a cost effective means of addressing both HIV risk and depression among MSM.^

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Ahaneku, Hycienth, "HIV/AIDS and depression among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Tanzania" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3720070.