Delays in diagnosis and linkage to HIV care persist among people living with HIV (PLWH), even after expanded access to ART worldwide. Mental health may influence timely linkage to HIV care. Greater understanding of the relationship among gender, mental health, and delayed linkage to HIV care can inform strategies to improve the health of PLWH. We interviewed 426 PLWH initiating HIV care in Cameroon between June 2019 and March 2020 to estimate the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the association between mental health and entry into care with advanced HIV. Separate multivariable log binomial regression models were used to estimate the association between mental health exposure and entry into HIV care with advanced HIV. Stratified analyses were used to assess effect modification by gender. Approximately 20, 15, and 12% of participants reported symptoms of depression, PTSD, and anxiety, respectively. The prevalence of mental health symptoms did not vary significantly by gender. Overall, 53% of participants enrolled in HIV care with advanced HIV: 51% of men and 54% of women. Screening positive for one of the mental health disorders assessed was associated with greater prevalence of enrollment with advanced HIV among men, but not among women. Future research should examine gender-specific pathways between mental health symptoms and entry into care with advanced HIV, particularly for men in Cameroon. The extent to which untreated mental health symptoms drive gender disparities throughout the HIV care continuum should be explored further.
- Mental health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases