Self-injurious thoughts have been associated with psychiatric morbidity and suicide. Little is known about psychosocial factors associated with self-injurious thoughts among people newly diagnosed with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. This study examined whether food insufficiency, mental health symptoms, or social support were associated with recent self-injurious thoughts among people newly diagnosed with HIV in Mozambique. The sample included 2001 PLWH aged ≥ 18 newly diagnosed with HIV at 10 health clinics in Mozambique between April 2013 and June 2015. Data were collected at time of HIV diagnosis. Multivariable logistic regression modeled the association of social support, affective mental health symptom severity, somatic mental health symptom severity, and food insufficiency on recent self-injurious thoughts. Ten percent of respondents reported recent self-injurious thoughts, which was higher among women than men (11% vs 7%). In multivariable analyses, food insufficiency [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.7 (95% CI 1.3, 2.2)], and low [aORvs no = 4.8, 95% CI 1.7, 13.4) and moderate/high affective symptom severity [aORvs no = 8.7, 95% CI 2.8, 27.6) were associated with greater odds of self-injurious thoughts. Interventions to address self-injurious thoughts should consider accompanying psychosocial stressors. Longitudinal research to examine mechanisms through which psychosocial stressors are associated with self-injurious thoughts is warranted.
Keywords: HIV; Mozambique; mental health; suicide.