Changes in Anxiety and Depression Symptoms Predict Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Young Men Living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Young men are important targets in HIV prevention in Tanzania and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Anxiety and depression are common among youth and may be important predictors of HIV risk behaviors; evidence of these relationships in high-risk populations is needed. Using baseline and 1 year follow-up assessments from an HIV prevention trial we assessed the association between changes in symptoms of anxiety and depression and follow-up sexual risk behaviors (condom use and sexual partner concurrency) controlling for baseline sexual risk behaviors among 1113 male members of social groups known as “camps” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Anxiety and depression were measured using the HSCL-25 and condom use and sexual partner concurrency were assessed through self-report. In separate models, increases in anxiety and depression were associated with sexual partner concurrency and with lower levels of condom use. In a combined model, both anxiety and depression appeared to independently affect concurrency but only depression was independently associated with condom use, with the association between anxiety and condom use being likely attributable to covariance with depression symptoms. The results of this study indicate the importance of screening and providing treatment for depression and anxiety disorders in high HIV-prevalence contexts, and the need to develop effective HIV prevention interventions targeting young men living with anxiety and depression.
KeywordsTanzania Sexual behaviors Anxiety Depression Men
This research was made possible by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH098690), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (T32AI007001), and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (K01DA035153). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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