Background: Not much is known about the risk factors of major depressive disorder (MDD) in HIV/AIDS in the African socio-cultural context. Therefore a study was undertaken to examine the prevalence and risk factors of MDD in HIV/AIDS in semi-urban Uganda.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken among 618 respondents attending two HIV clinics in Uganda.
Results: Prevalence of MDD was 8.1%. Factors associated with MDD at univariate analysis only were female gender, family history of mental illness, negative coping style, alcohol dependency disorder, food insecurity and stress; not associated with MDD were social support, neurocognitive impairment, CD4 counts and BMI. Factors independently associated with MDD were psychosocial impairment, adverse life events, post traumatic stress disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and life-time attempted suicide.
Conclusion: Psychological and social factors were the main risk factors of MDD among ambulatory HIV positive persons with no evidence for the role of the neurotoxic effects of HIV. Treatment approaches for MDD in this patient group should be modeled on those used among non-HIV groups.