AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1764–1769 | Cite as

Moderate Levels of Depression Predict Sexual Transmission Risk in HIV-Infected MSM: A Longitudinal Analysis of Data From Six Sites Involved in a “Prevention for Positives” Study

  • Conall O’CleirighEmail author
  • Michael E. Newcomb
  • Kenneth H. Mayer
  • Margie Skeer
  • Lara Traeger
  • Steven A. Safren
Brief Report


Depression is highly comorbid with HIV and may contribute to increased sexual transmission risk behavior (TRB) amongst HIV-infected MSM, the largest risk group for HIV in the U.S. However, examinations of this effect are inconsistent. The present longitudinal analyses of 746 HIV-infected MSM is from a multi-site “prevention for positives” study. A non-linear association between depression and TRB emerged. Moderate levels of depression (compared to either low or high levels) were associated with a more modest decline in the odds of sexual risk behavior over 12-month follow-up. Assessing depression in HIV primary care settings may help to identify those at risk and integrating the treatment of depression into secondary prevention and treatment initiatives may decrease the likelihood of sexual risk and help to contain the epidemic among MSM.


HIV prevention with positives Men who have sex with men Sexual risk Depression 



This project was supported by a Grant awarded to Kenneth H. Mayer from the Health Resources and Services Administration Projects of National Significance Initiative (H97HA01293-01-00). During the preparation of this manuscript, Steven A. Safren was supported by a Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (K24MH094214). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the HRSA or the National Institute of Mental Health.The authors would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the Cross-Site Depression Prevention for Positives Team: Laura H. Bachman (University of Alabama), Ken Burton (El Rio Neighborhood Health Center), Nancy Glick (Mt. Sinai Hospital Chicago), Lourdes Illa (University of Miami), Steve Morin (University of California San Francisco), and E. Byrd Quinlivan (University of North Carolina), and the HRSA SPNS Project Officer, Faye Malitz.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conall O’Cleirigh
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michael E. Newcomb
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kenneth H. Mayer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Margie Skeer
    • 2
  • Lara Traeger
    • 1
  • Steven A. Safren
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Fenway Institute, Fenway HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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