Depression, HIV-related stigma and low levels of social support may be particularly prevalent and adversely affect health and treatment outcomes among HIV-infected pregnant women. We examined factors associated with social support and stigma among pregnant women initiating antiretroviral therapy in the Western Cape, South Africa; and explored associations with depressive symptoms (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; EPDS) in linear regression models. Among 623 participants, 11 and 19 % had elevated EPDS scores using thresholds described in the original development of the scale (scores ≥13 and ≥10, respectively). Social support and stigma were highly interrelated and were associated with depressive symptoms. Stigma was observed to moderate the association between social support and depression scores; when levels of stigma were high, no association between social support and depression scores was observed. Elevated depression scores are prevalent in this setting, and interventions to reduce stigma and to address risk factors for depressive symptoms are needed.
Keywords: Antenatal depression; Pregnancy; Social support; South Africa; Stigma.